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Well Being

Thrift store worker finds a polio vaccine card from 1956. Sure looks familiar, doesn't it?

Thrift store worker finds a polio vaccine card from 1956. Sure looks familiar, doesn't it?

Vaccines are without a doubt one of the most impactful scientific advancements in human history. Through vaccines, we eliminated smallpox, have nearly eliminated polio worldwide, and have saved countless lives through protection from a host of other infectious diseases. Yet even with that history, millions of Americans are refusing the coronavirus vaccines and decrying efforts to mandate proof of vaccination to partake in certain activities.

A Twitter post is serving as a timely reminder that vaccination isn't new and neither are proof-of-immunization requirements. The post shows a polio record card from 1956 that the poster found at the thrift store where they work. And the real kicker here is that COVID is actually far deadlier than polio ever was.

COVID-19 has killed nearly 670,000 Americans in the past year and a half. We are just days away from surpassing the death toll from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Those numbers are staggering in comparison with the polio epidemic, which at its peak in 1952, killed 3,000 Americans in one year. Thousands more were paralyzed, but nowhere near hundreds of thousands in the span of a year.


I'm not trying to downplay polio—it's a terrible disease. It was especially scary because primarily impacted children, but by every other measure, the COVID pandemic is far worse than the polio epidemic ever was. In deaths, there's no comparison. In long-term effects, we simply don't know yet. COVID isn't leaving people paralyzed like polio did, but "long COVID" is a thing and organ damage caused by COVID can lead to a host of ongoing health problems.

People downplay COVID by saying most people who get the virus don't get severely sick, but the same is true of polio. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, around 70% of polio cases are totally asymptomic, and another 25% have just mild symptoms. Less than 1% of cases result in paralysis, and far fewer result in death.

And yet, we never hear people say, "We should just take our chances with polio, since most people who get it are fine!" We still vaccinate for it, even though the chances of getting it in the U.S. is practically nil at this point because vaccination has eradicated it.

Some people don't trust the coronavirus vaccines because they think they were approved for use too quickly. But do you know how long it was between the start of clinical trials for the polio vaccine to when it was approved? Less than a year. Clinical trials for the Salk polio vaccine began on 1.8 million children (650,000 of whom got the vaccine, with 1.2 million getting a placebo) on April 26, 1954 and the vaccine was approved April 12, 1955. It wasn't without controversy, of course, but the success of the vaccine speaks for itself.

That was nearly seven decades ago. Think of how far medical research has come since then and how much greater our understanding of infectious disease and immunology is now. We already had enormous amounts of base knowledge about coronaviruses in general, decades of mRNA research under our belt, and more than a decade of mRNA vaccine development already underway, so the quickly developed and tested COVID vaccines are not terribly surprising.

As for proof of vaccination complaints, the polio card post also prompted a flood of other photos of immunization "passports," from record books to reminders that people with smallpox inoculations had to literally show the scar on their arm to prove that they'd been vaccinated.

The military has been required to get vaccines for pretty much ever.

And yes, people with smallpox vaccinations used to have to lift their shirt sleeves to show that they'd been immunized before being allowed to enter some public places.

Sometimes a "vaccine passport" is literally called a vaccine passport. And many jobs have long required them.

One of the unfortunate side effects of living in the information age is that we spend so much time battling misinformation. I recall predictions from disease specialists in March 2020 that we may lose 100,000 to 200,000 Americans to COVID-19, and people scoffing about fearmongering. Here we are 18 months and 680,000 deaths later, still having to convince people that COVID is real, the pandemic is serious, vaccination is good, and requiring proof of immunization for life-threatening infectious disease is not an authoritarian power-grab.

If you're immunized for polio, which you most probably are, being immunized for coronavirus should be a no brainer. The risk of COVID is much higher, the vaccines have had ample time for testing in comparison to the early days of polio immunization, and the vaccines have been proven safe and effective according to the vast majority of people who are qualified to evaluate such things.

We're all tired of this stupid pandemic. Please do your part and get vaccinated if you are able.

Pedro Pascal and Bowen Yang can't keep a straight face as Ego Nwodim tries to cut her steak.

Most episodes of “Saturday Night Live” are scheduled so the funnier bits go first and the riskier, oddball sketches appear towards the end, in case they have to be cut for time. But on the February 4 episode featuring host Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”), the final sketch, “Lisa from Temecula,” was probably the most memorable of the night.

That’s high praise because it was a strong episode, with a funny “Last of Us” parody featuring the Super Mario Brothers and a sketch where Pascal played a protective mother.

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Pop Culture

Keanu Reeves shocks a small-town pub by stopping in for a pint and taking photos with the staff

“So today we had a surprise visitor for lunch. What a lovely man he was, too."

Keanu Reeves in São Paulo, Brazil, 2019.

Keanu Reeves has a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest celebrities. Recently, he cheered up an 80-year-old fan who had a crush on him by calling her on the phone. He’s also bought an ice cream cone for a fan to give an autograph on the receipt and crashed a wedding to take photos with the bride and groom.

He’s also an incredible humanitarian who gave up a big chunk of his money from "The Matrix" to a cancer charity.

The “John Wick” star was his usual gracious self over the weekend when on Saturday, February 4, he and a friend walked into The Robin Hood pub in Tring, Hertfordshire, about 30 miles outside of London.

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Pop Culture

The far-right is calling this viral Grammy performance 'Satanic.' Don't fall for it.

Sam Smith and Kim Petras' performance of "Unholy" left some calling it a satanic ritual.

K.G/Youtube

Sam Smith and Kim Petras performing "Unholy" at the Grammy Awards.

Depending on which corners of social media you call home, few happenings from the 2023 Grammy awards were as divisive as Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ performance of the song “Unholy.” Was it a historic moment of inclusion or a historic display of a Satanic ritual broadcast to the world?

On the one hand, the pair made music history. After winning the Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Smith became the first non-binary artist to win the category, along with Petra who became the first trans woman to win the category.

However, not everyone was a fan of their live hell-themed performance, featuring Smith clad in red leather and sporting a top hat with devil horns and Petras dancing in a cage surrounded by dominatrixes.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz took to Twitter to call the act “evil,” and his fury was quickly echoed by other conservative influencers who declared it an example of mainstream devil worship.

“Don’t fight the culture wars, they say. Meanwhile demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan. I could throw up.” wrote conservative political commentator Liz Wheeler.

However, it doesn’t take a lot of research to find out what the artist’s original intentions were behind the song.

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Saturday Night Live/Youtube

"It's a me."

Pedro Pascal and HBO seem to be a match made in pop culture heaven. His role in the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” shot him to notoriety. He’s currently starring in “Last of Us,” which also boasts a massive viewership.

And now, thanks to one epic “Saturday Night Live” skit, fans are clamoring to see Pascal take on a new role—a brooding, hardened, princess smuggling Mario.

The faux trailer imagines the video game Mario Kart as a quintessential HBO drama. Mario (Pascal) has to use his driving skills to get Princess Peach (played by Chloe Fineman) through an apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom.
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Celebrity

Philadelphia Eagles player is bringing his pregnant wife’s OBGYN to the Super Bowl, just in case

Kylie McDevitt's OBGYN is packing a bag to join the NFL star's wife, just in case baby Kelce decides to see the game too.

Philadelphia Eagles player is bringing his pregnant wife's OBGYN to the Super Bowl

Having a baby is an intimate, vulnerable experience, so people get pretty attached to their healthcare providers. I've met women who have planned an induction to have their baby with their preferred doctor and not whoever would be on call if they went into labor naturally. So it may not be a surprise to birthing people that Kylie McDevitt, Philadelphia Eagles player, Jason Kelce's wife, isn't taking any chances when she travels to Arizona for the Super Bowl.

Kelce made headlines with his brother Travis recently when it was revealed that the Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs would be facing off for the Super Bowl, making the pair the first brothers to compete against each other for a ring. It seems that McDevitt didn't want to miss the history-making moment, even though she'll be two weeks shy of the standard 40 weeks of pregnancy.

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Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash/ @camerconstewart_uk/Instagram

"Sometimes it pays to learn a language!"

It feels safe to assume that if money were no object, people would always choose to travel business class over economy. After all, who doesn’t want a fast check-in, fancy food and drink choices and more of that sweet, spacious legroom?

However, at anywhere between four to ten times the price of a regular economy ticket, this style of traveling remains a fantasy for many who simply can’t afford it.

Luckily, thanks to one man’s clever travel hack, that fantasy might be more achievable than we realize.

Cameron Stewart, a British photojournalist and camera operator, recently shared how he was able to score business class tickets at a fraction of the price, simply by switching the website language from English to Spanish.
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