I clearly remember the polio epidemic—most people knew of someone who had caught the disease and become crippled, or worse, ended up in an iron lung to enable breathing, or even died. The people were advised to avoid crowds.
My most vivid memory is of my first day at Benalla High School. Our family had just returned from a beach holiday on the Saturday, for the start of school on the Tuesday. I duly went off on the Violet Town school bus with my local state school friends who started that day, decked out in my new uniform and hat.
When the bell rang, we assembled in the quadrangle, and it was announced that anyone who had not been at their residence in the last two weeks had to stay away from school for the next two weeks.
This was scary to a shy little country girl!
There were a few others from Violet Town and we had to fill in the day wandering the street and gardens till bus time at 3.30, then go back on the bus with the other children. So much for isolating us from the others!
Another two weeks at home! Fortunately the local headmaster felt sorry for me and set some maths and English for me so I wouldn’t get too far behind. Eventually I restarted at Benalla High School, but the others had had their intelligence test and were allocated their form and their sports houses.
Not an ideal start, but I got going.
It was much later before a vaccine was produced. Salk, an injection, and later perfected to a syrup, Sabin, which was successful.
Hopefully a vaccine for COVD19 will soon be available.