Hundreds in New York state may be infected with polio virus

New York state health officials have found indications of additional cases of polio virus in wastewater samples from two different counties, leading them to warn that hundreds of people may be infected with the potentially serious virus…

“Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the Department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread. As we learn more, what we do know is clear: the danger of polio is present in New York today…”

Polio is “a serious and life-threatening disease,” the state health department said. It is highly contagious and can be spread by people who aren’t yet symptomatic. Symptoms usually appear within 30 days of infection, and can be mild or flu-like. Some people who are infected may become paralyzed or die.

Before the polio vaccine was introduced in the 1950s, thousands of Americans died in polio outbreaks and tens of thousands, many of them children, were left with paralysis. After a successful vaccination campaign, polio was officially declared eradicated in the U.S. in 1979.

The scariest words I’ve read in decades. I was a schoolkid in a New England factory town during the years of peak polio waves, every summer. I had peers who were infected. Some who died. Some who were paralyzed for life. Commonplace before Dr. Salk’s vaccine.

Michigan town defunds library that refused to remove LGBTQ books

Another day, another example of grown adults rallying to ban books that could be educational, affirming, and in some cases life-saving for their kids. This one is in west Michigan, where residents of Jamestown Township voted this week to defund their local library following public disagreements about its inclusion of LGBTQ books for young adults.

The vote was against renewing a millage, the share of property taxes that provides 84 percent of the Patmos Library’s operating budget, for 2023. Ron French noted, in an extensive report for Bridge Michigan, that this “may be the first time a community voted, in effect, to close its library” rather than continue to provide LGBTQ books to kids.

When library staff refused to take the books from the library, the effort to defund it began. The library can operate on its current budget through the end of the first quarter of 2023; after that, library board president Larry Walton told French, the library would have to close.

We must be the leading country in the world at using democratic powers to enforce anti-democratic politics.