Warmth and light

November 24, 2020

To the members of the MIT community,

Along a section of the Infinite Corridor, you can find flyers that might as well be from Pompeii. Frozen in time, they invite our attendance at events from last spring that never were.

I first wrote to you about Covid-19 on March 5th. The complex set of travel restrictions I shared then felt shocking but now seem quaint. Today, 263 indistinguishable days later, I write with a simple message of admiration, fellowship and gratitude.

For your rapid responsiveness, deep analysis, brilliant forecasting, swift reinvention and endless improvisation; for all the testing and being tested, the taking care, the thinking through and the making do; for the putting up with, the packing and unpacking, the cheerful persevering, the careful Plan B-ing, the zoom-after-zooming and the cleaning and cleaning and cleaning – I cannot thank you enough. We could not have done with less, and we could not have asked for more. For all you have given to and sacrificed for our community and for each other, please accept this heartfelt thank-you.

Twice a year, in November and January, the sun lines up with the Infinite Corridor to produce the dazzling effect we call MIThenge. This year, to me, it looks like a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to multiple extraordinary triumphs of biomedical research, some very close to home, there is reason to hope that the pandemic’s days are numbered.

We probably still have a long way to travel together down this Covid-19 corridor – well masked and a Smoot’s length apart. But there is relief in knowing that this hard journey will not be infinite, and great comfort in having come so far with such steady and devoted companions.

With warmest wishes for this week of thanksgiving,

L. Rafael Reif