• Gina Rullo

Suddenly, polio and other things make a comeback


People are testing positive for monkeypox. (Courtesy Photo)

Are we really welcoming polio back?  I don’t have that on my bingo card for the 2020s decade.


Deadly virus, check.


Death of favorite celebs, check.


Federal raid of a former president, check.


Illness tied back to primates, check.


Invasive bugs, check.


But polio, an illness I thought was eradicated decades ago is back.


How?


What?


Why?


According to the August 12, Wall Street Journal, “‘The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising,’ New York state’s health commissioner, Mary T. Bassett, said. ‘Already, the State Health Department—working with local and federal partners—is responding urgently, continuing case investigation and aggressively assessing spread.’


“Dr. Bassett and New York City’s health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, encouraged residents to get vaccinated against polio. The statewide polio vaccination rate for children under 2 years old is 79%.”


I think I have been relatively calm about everything that has happened in the past 30 months or so.


But this, this is too much.


Growing up our older neighbor suffered from the lasting effects from polio.


He walked with braces and crutches.


I loved the movie and play Annie and I understood what President Franklin D. Roosevelt went through with the illness.


I never thought we would go backwards as a society.


It is times like this that I think of George Santayana’s famous quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”


But what is old is new again, as that saying goes.


Salman Rushdie was attacked and stabbed on August 12. Iran has had it out for him since the late 1980s when the former leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death after the publication of The Satantic Verses.


Top Gun won the summer movie season in 1986. And this year, Top Gun: Maverick won the summer movie season.


Our president doesn’t seem to be all there which reminds me of how people felt about President Ronald Reagan in his second term of office.


Dreams do come true in the corn fields of Iowa as baseball plays on the former location and set of the popular 1980s movie.


Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” which originally topped at No. 30 in 1985 is back on the charts thanks to the Netflix series “Stranger Things.”


We are once again having problems with Russia.


Should I mention that a female friend bought a clothing item with shoulder pads? We definitely don’t need that look again.


“Buy American” is a common theme as a pushback against China as opposed to the “Made in Taiwan” pushback of the ‘80s.


So are we repeating ourselves? Possibly.


Is it our fault? Yes.


Let’s do better than letting ourselves repeat the mistakes of the 1980s. Let us find a way to improve our circumstances and not relive the late 1980s over again.



Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette. In 2022, she was named an “Editor Extraordinaire” by Editor & Publisher Magazine and in 2021 won two awards for investigative journalism.