After a bout with COVID and a nasty collapse onto a trash can, UCSF COVID sage Dr. Bob Wachter is almost as good as new, and yukking it up over the whole ordeal on a new podcast.
SFist has been taking the wise COVID-19 advice of UCSF Department of Medicine Chair Dr. Bob Wachter throughout the pandemic. So we were alarmed and saddened to learn in mid-July that Dr. Wachter had not only contracted COVID-19 himself, but also collapsed onto a bathroom trash can on which he smashed his head and was left in a neck brace.
Until this week, I remained a NoVid, which I chalked up to being fairly cautious, fully vaxxed & a bit lucky.— Bob Wachter (@Bob_Wachter) July 13, 2023
This week my luck ran out. My case is a cautionary tale, particularly for the “just a cold” folks. Mine definitely was not...I literally have scars to show for it. (1/22)
His tweet and subsequent Twitter thread received thousands of shares. “I was just trying to see if anybody was still on Twitter, and I guess the answer is yes,” Wachter joked on a Tuesday podcast.
My progress:— Bob Wachter (@Bob_Wachter) July 26, 2023
1) C3 healed; neck brace is gone
2) Fine Covid-wise. Tested neg by day 8, rebound 9-13, now neg. Crazy we never got clinical trial of 7-10d of Pax (I took 5d)
3) Stitches out–not great but no longer scare small kids
4) Humans are resilient; my trashcan is unimproved. pic.twitter.com/YvTlk9wHvr
But early Wednesday afternoon, Wachter tweeted that he was “Fine Covid-wise,” having tested negative. He added that his “neck brace is gone,” and that his stitches are out. He describes his appearance as “not great but no longer scare small kids.”
As for the trash can, he concedes “Humans are resilient; my trashcan is unimproved.”
As fun as it gets: my @Medscape conversation with 2 of my friends and healthcare heroes: @EricTopol & @abe_verghese.— Bob Wachter (@Bob_Wachter) July 26, 2023
We discussed my recent Covid episode, healthcare's bumpy digital transformation, #GPT/#AI, #MedEd, and much more. Worth a listen or read: https://t.co/EAugIsyCU9
Wachter joked at length on the Medicine and the Machine podcast with Dr. Eric Topol, laughing it up over his awful experience, and the Twitter response it received.
“I thought that maybe a few hundred people would notice my tweet,” he said. “And then it started going viral. CNN called and said, ‘We'd like to run a story.’ And then the next day, it appears on their homepage just below Wimbledon. Kind of pissed me off; I thought it was a better story than the Wimbledon final.”
“There was the usual foolishness on Twitter: ‘You deserve this; this is what you get for not being careful,’ etc.,” he added. “But for the most part, people have been magnificent. It's been gratifying in a way that I would have preferred avoiding.”
And on the “Covid advice from Dr. Bob Wachter” front, he was asked about a recent New York Times article that declared current U.S. mortality rates were “a sign that the pandemic really is over.” Does he agree?
“The death rates are no longer different from the usual death rates at this time of year,” Wachter said. “That is a remarkable achievement and says something about the state of the pandemic and the state of immunity, either from vaccines or from infection or both. And it's worth celebrating.”
“It's worth going back to something that feels a little bit closer to normal than we've lived for the last 3 or 4 years. But you have to do it with your eyes open.”
And Dr. Wachter, we’re glad that your right eye is open again.
Image: @Bob_Wachter via Twitter