The chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has announced his plans for attending large gatherings involve wearing “a mask … likely forever”
Bob Wachter, 65, raised his fears in a lengthy post on Twitter, despite admitting that he hasn’t had Covid and is “fully vaxxed & had bivalent in Sept.”
In his Twitter bio, Watcher asserts that his career is “What happens when a poli sci major becomes an academic physician.”
In a long Twitter thread, Watcher details why he has decided to buck the prevailing trend and take what seems like extreme measures.
“Some folks continue asking what I’m doing viz Covid behavior,” he began.
“In the Bay Area, I’m now OK with indoor dining & removing my mask for small group gatherings,” he then declared.
Covid (@UCSF) Chronicles, Day 1038
Some folks continue asking what I'm doing viz Covid behavior…
Answer: I'm changing my behavior. In the Bay Area, I'm now OK with indoor dining & removing my mask for small group gatherings.
I haven't changed, the risk has. Here's how: (1/25)
— Bob Wachter (@Bob_Wachter) January 19, 2023
“My main fear is Long Covid, which I peg at ~5% probability per Covid case,” he admitted.
“This leads me to being comfortable indoors without a mask when the effective case rate is <10/100K/d in my region.
“This # is based on my own risk tolerance & risk factors.”
After citing statistics regarding Covid hospitalizations, wastewater, and UCSF hospitals’ asymptomatic test positivity rate, he offered his plan going forward.
His plan includes eating outdoors and testing before he and his family arrived for a meal in Palm Springs with friends.
Then he segued to “Public transit, theaters, other large gatherings,” writing, “Plan to wear a mask (always a KN95; why not wear a good mask if you’re going to mask?), likely forever.
“I’m comfortable taking it off briefly to eat on a long flight, but will try to keep it on when I can.”
Regarding playing poker with a small group, he enthused, “I’m now comfy playing with a small, vaccinated group (n=8) without testing.
“I’ll lobby (till they throw me out) to keep the doors/windows open during the game.”
“As always, I’m not telling anybody what they SHOULD do,” he wrote.
“Perfectly reasonable people have looked at all of these odds (or decided not to) and chosen to live life like it’s 2019.
“Most of them will do just fine – they’ll have a higher odds of getting Covid than me, but … few will get super sick (particularly if up to date on vax), & most won’t get Long Covid (either prolonged symptoms or be victim of elevated long-term risk of stroke, MI, or cognitive decline).
“Just because we’re all tired of this doesn’t change the risks & thus doesn’t change the way I think about managing them,” he concluded.