The season of cheese boards and fruit and fromage/wine pairings is here…but the platters may be a lot smaller than usual. After all, with COVID-19 sweeping the nation, many will bunker down alone or with their immediate families at home as they read of hospitals nearing capacity and governors pronounce new restrictions on gathering.
There is, of course, hope ahead. Pfizer and BioNtech, acting jointly, and Moderna, acting alone, have produced what seem to be extraordinarily effective vaccines with initial research showing them to be around 95% effective, with few or no people who receive the vaccines getting COVID-19. There are many other vaccines in testing.
These vaccines rely on a novel technology, called Messenger RNA, which may yet provide an option to inoculate against many other diseases. Of course, these vaccines have great challenges in their distribution, with requirements for extremely low-temperature distribution. Also the vaccines require two doses, and there is some concern that discomfort after the first shot may keep people away from the required second shot. In any case, there is not enough of these vaccines to quickly inoculate everyone.
There is no use sitting home and getting depressed. People should use the time they have to learn and advance. That might mean reading their Cheese Connoisseur magazine more intently! It also can mean trying new recipes, sampling new cheeses and, in general, becoming more knowledgeable about things people enjoy.
After all, we are fortunate to know that, whether through a vaccine or through the pain of developing herd immunity, this too shall pass. What we should all be striving for is to be the best we can be coming out of the situation. So we can teach others and enjoy ourselves more with the knowledge and experience we gain by focusing on self-improvement during this difficult time.
John Adams wrote a letter to his wife, Abagail, in which he explained his thoughts. He wrote: “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” Surely, this is another way of saying that we must support and study medicine and so free ourselves of this virus, that our children will one day know the carefree joys of being intent on eating the finest cheese.