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A girl putting picture of a rainbow In window at home during COVID-19 pandemic Daisy-Daisy/Getty Images
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES: For Carol Ann Gregg, the COVID-19 pandemic has resurfaced memories of the polio outbreak of the 1940s. She hopes the University of Pittsburgh can help to develop a lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine just as the university helped to develop the polio vaccine with Dr. Jonas Salk.

COVID-19 brings back childhood memories

From the Farmhouse Window: Everyone has been affected by COVID-19, especially young farm families.

No one has been left untouched by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

It doesn’t matter if you have gotten sick from the virus or have been quarantined; you have been impacted.

For those of us who are farming, this is yet another challenge in an already high-risk business. I don’t have the day-to-day barn chores as in years past, but I have watched as others have had to dump milk, or have lost the market for their animals, or have concerns about prices becoming even more depressed than before the pandemic. These are scary times.

Young families are not only dealing with all the added stresses of farm life but are now expected to be “home schooling” their children. Some families already home-school their kids, so this is part of their daily routine, but for others this is a new set of challenges for both parents and kids.

For years, rural areas have complained that there was a need to provide broadband service to their areas. During these times students are being asked to work with their teachers via the internet and many people are working remotely, so the need for broadband is glaring.

I can’t imagine the challenges of a household with several children all needing to use a computer and a parent trying to get online to complete work tasks. Many broadband providers say that it isn’t financially viable to provide service in less-populated areas. There needs to be a better way to allow rural areas to be included in today’s economy.

Polio parallels

COVID–19 has brought back very distant memories of a virus outbreak in the late 1940s.

When I was in first or second grade my family was living in suburban Cleveland. My friends and I walked eight blocks to school and walked home for lunch each day.

During that time the polio virus began to attack. We lived on a street where there were multiple apartment buildings and duplexes. These apartment buildings usually had about eight units. It was a very pleasant, attractive area with pretty lawns with shrubs and flowers.

Five children within two blocks of our building contracted polio. One was my best friend and playmate from across the street. I can’t imagine how my mother felt when this was happening all around her. I recall that when these children were better enough to go back to school, the March of Dimes provided transportation for them. They were not strong enough to walk the eight blocks four times a day.

A couple of years later, my family moved to Pennsylvania. When I was in junior high, my sister was in second grade. She was in one of the groups of children who were given the first polio vaccine shots that were developed by Dr. Jonah Salk at the University of Pittsburgh. Now, we don’t even think about polio as a threat to the children.

It is interesting that the University of Pittsburgh is one of the leading research centers working on a vaccine against COVID–19. Here is hoping for a vaccine so that we can move on from this deadly virus.

Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and is a past president of American Agri-Women.

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