UCSF medicine dep’t chair’s son contracts COVID-19; expert shares case online

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For about a couple of years, UCSF department of medicine chair Dr. Bob Wachter’s Twitter account has been updated on his pandemic views, SFGATE reported.

But it became more personal over the weekend when the expert shared online that his son was infected by COVID-19 and manifests symptoms. He shared to his 245,000 followers the concerns surrounding the pandemic fight, mentioning the demand for at-home tests, treatment choices shortage for asymptomatic individuals, among others.

His son, 28, tested positive for the disease, which the 64-year-old expert assumed was the omicron variant. He presumed that his child’s need for hospital care is at 0.3 percent. “I knew, deep down, that odds of a bad case were low,” he tweeted. “But when it’s your kid, you freak out a bit.”

His son got the virus last Monday, Wachter said, when he went to the movie with a fully vaccinated friend in their San Francisco residence. His child started feeling unwell 36 hours later. He has no sense of taste, abnormal sense of smell, sore throat, muscle pains, and chills.

His son was advised to stay at home.

“He came outside (I wore an N95) & we ran it, w/ a nasal swab,” Wachter said. “It was negative. I was a little reassured, though he was not – ‘Dad, it feels just like I felt after my… vaccine,’ he said. He seemed sick enough to be infectious; I wondered if he’d be an example of the newly reported problems with false-negative rapid tests in the first days of an Omicron infection.”

A PCR testing appointment was made through the UCSF COVID hotline.

“I heated up some chicken soup, bought an oximeter (97%, whew – though his heart rate was 120: concerning) & told him to call me if his symptoms changed or his O2 sat fell <95%,” he wrote.

While the first virus testing came out negative, there was a clear likelihood that he is positive for the virus the next day. His friend who he watched a movie with said she is positive for COVID.

Wachter’s son underwent COVID testing again – this time, swabbing both his throat and nose. It turned out positive.

“We cancelled the PCR test (now 3 days away) since the diagnosis seemed secure. So one more case omitted from the public #’s (which makes skyrocketing case counts even more amazing),” Wachter wrote.

On day four, Wachter confirmed in the news that his son tested positive. He said his throat “hurt like hell” but his “flu-ish” symptoms had dwindled.

Testing is planned to again be done on the fifth day, Wachter said, and if he tests negative, his son will leave isolation and wear a KN95 mask.