In 1962, when Nikita Khrushchev ordered nuclear missiles placed in Cuba, he told his advisers an old Russian story about the “cow in the kitchen.”

Seems it was a terrible winter and an old farmer brought his cow into the kitchen to keep her warm. His wife was very upset and the neighbors were shocked. But as time went by and the cold winter dragged on, his wife relented and the neighbors got used to the cow whenever they visited.

Khrushchev said that the Americans would get used to the missiles same as the old farmer’s neighbors did with the cow in the kitchen.

Now, today the coronavirus is our “cow in the kitchen.” When the epidemic exploded, it was considered unacceptable that there could be 60,000 dead from it here in the U.S. We ordered shutdowns, social distancing, face masks and intensive measures to get the spread under control, and they began to work. But now with a death toll of over 75,000 and the new projected totals over 100,000 as these measures to stop the virus are being rejected, we seem to have gotten used to these numbers as the old Russian farmers did with the “cow in the kitchen.”

If we begin to relent on the intelligent measures that have worked to keep this epidemic manageable, we will cause unimaginable death and suffering and we will descend into an economic depression from which we may never recover. We will never be rid of this virus.

Lawrence Everett
South Paris

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