A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 182

Red sky at night: spectacular effects after a recent driving rainstorm.

December 28

There’s not much happening in this period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Tomorrow, I must take our car to the Riverhead dealer for an oil change–even though it has traveled less than 2,000 miles since the last oil change back in July. Today, the high point has been the purchase of a dozen eggs.

I’m reading David Oshinsky’s book Polio: An American Story, all about the history of that disease, FDR’s experience, the March of Dimes, and the progress toward the Salk and Sabin vaccines in the 1950s. I’m only about halfway through the book. One interesting revelation: There were two vaccines on offer as far back as the 1930s. Both were ineffective, sloppily tested and produced–and one of them even seemed to infect the inoculated with polio. After nine deaths, researchers understood that they must go slow. There was much more they must learn before any vaccine could responsibly be introduced.

So much for warp speed.

Dinner: Braised chicken with lemon and olives, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.

Entertainment: the Russian movie Beanpole, available on Kanopy.