Email sent yesterday by Austin doc

From Austin, TX, doc Anna Vu-Wallace

Jun 25, 2020
Dear friends,
Being in the hospital gives me a unique perspective on the current situation of the pandemic. Some of you shared with me that you don’t even look at the news anymore. That is understandable given the tumultuous period of our time. There are other ways to obtain vital information. This is a link to our statistics on COVID locally.

As hospital physicians, we are tasked with reaching everyone who may have influence as we see the sharp rise in our state and county. Attached are graphs that will tell you why this is so urgent that I am taking time to email you.

Let me tell you what my typical day looks like. After the morning with contemplative practices and reading, I put on my scrubs and head out. Fear of taking this virus home and infecting my family takes hold as I don my N95 mask tightly to my face. Protective goggles are placed. Shoes from the day before left in the garage wait for me to put back on. As I enter the hospital, another mask is placed on me along with a shield. As I enter the COVID unit, I am covered with a gown and hair cover and 2 layers of gloves. My shoes are covered with shoe coverings. By the end of the first hour, my face and ears are painful due to the safety gear. By the time I get home, indentations marked how long I have been working. The back of my ears bleed on occasion. I strip off all I have in the garage. I dare not to touch anything until I have showered. Even then, I know how unpredictable this virus is. I pray my family will be ok as I have decided not to find different living arrangements isolating from them.

I attend to many. Without a definitive treatment for COVID, the sorrow of families of the dying is often overwhelming to bear even with the contemplative coping tools I practice.

Today, I learned that 10 nurses I work with have been infected and sick, 6 hospitalized. There have been at least 4 physicians infected. I know some will die. What can I do? I can ask for your help.

  • Would you wear a mask outside of your home and physical distance for the next year?
  • Would you not invite friends to come to your home for dinner/drinks until our local health departments clear to do so?
  • Would you stay home when possible? We have a stay home order from Mayor Adler.
  • Would you hold off on any large gatherings until we see a trend downwards for at least 2 weeks?

I know this is difficult. Community is vital to our spiritual journey. From this doctor’s perspective, we still have the community, just in a different way. In our difficulty, I feel this is when we grow.

What I have learned from this virus is how connected we all are. What we do individually will affect the collective.

Before sending this email, I explored my motivation. Yes, I don’t deny that I ask for me. However, I also believe I ask from a place of non-duality for all of us.

Please feel free to share this.

Much love and gratitude for your friendship,
Dr Anna Vu-Wallace

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So… going by how I’m reading the graph, the space would be a Level 4 or Level 5 risk. Not the greatest.

I’m curious though. In the context of the shop (where I admittedly spend more of my time), would keeping the air moving around help? I’m not talking about circulating the same air, but instead maybe putting a grate in, and opening the bay door by the blue laser, and running with the auto bay door open as well. Get some cross-flow going.

There are a couple of issues that I see coming up with my idea. The recent bit of dust in the air that’s made it’s way from the other side of the world, along with other allergens that can affect breathing.

( But everyone should already be masked up in the space, right? :slight_smile: )

Also, keeping the space at a reasonable temperature would be super tough. This might be something that would only work at night.


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I see people argue about this and I thought the accepted consensus was that at most 2% will die, although likely it is a sub-1% number. This person seems to think that more than one in 14 will die. Whats the deal? Who are we to believe? I’m not trying to downplay this, but likewise it shouldn’t be overplayed. During the last member meeting, one side was very big on “fact-checking”.

1 in 14 non-retired adults dying at the low-end seems possibly a bit exaggerated. Granted - I have no graduate degree or anything fancy and she is a MD. Maybe this is an older population? Thoughts?

I don’t read the doctor’s statement like that. It could be read that way, but it is ambiguous at best. She makes statements about 14 infected individuals, then says “I know some will die.” She may be voicing her personal fears, or she may be making a broader statement about “some will die” within the broader hospital/medical community. Regardless, I don’t see it as any kind of general statistical claim about mortality rates in the population at large.

I agree that it is quite ambiguous. I suppose she thinks that some of them may die because they are already at the point of hospitalization? That is fair.

It also strikes me as a bit of over the top fear-mongering. Houston already has 1 hospital at capacity is my understanding. Factual statements are useful and needed. I don’t feel these sort of statements are.

We don’t need to have people scared the mortality of this thing is many times higher than it actually is.

It isn’t sound statistics to take a rate applying to a population at large and then assume that applies to all subdivisions of that population.

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Yes, correct, but the way the doctor threw around numbers is not very sound given she is supposed to be a reference of sorts. If the doctor didn’t want us to arrive at conclusions, why share the info in the manner in which she did? So yes, I filled in the dots and pointed out it isn’t that bad. If one wants to share information, maybe share information about all the weird lingering side effects people have when cases are so bad people are hospitalized. I just don’t like the excessive fear-mongering. It is bad enough as it is.

@BrianBowles What numbers did she “throw around”? That’s incredibly belittling and insulting to say of her and you should do better. She stated facts: She knows of 6 hospitalized nurses and another 8+ infected nurses and doctors, and she knows some of them will die. From what I’ve read, approximately 1 in 10 hospitalized COVID cases end in death. Considering she already knows 6 hospitalized nurses that means, purely mathematically, at least one of them is likely to die. Plus she may have information about those people she chose not to disclose (severity, pre-existing conditions, etc.). So maybe you need to take a step back and see the forest instead of focusing so much on the trees… her message is the important thing here. Maybe just ponder that larger message for a while instead of incorrectly nitpicking her numbers.

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Well she should have given context about how many people she works with. You know, the denominator. To us, those numbers are nothing but numbers in a vacuum. Should we draw conclusions from them or not? You seem to be implying we should? Other dude say we shouldn’t. Just don’t like the fear-mongering rubbish when we can find things that are actually more useful.

This was preached to us during the last member meeting about “fact-checking”. And while they are “facts” they aren’t facts that can lead one to any sort of conclusion, so I will lump them in that same category.

One problem here is I’ve had enough bad experiences with incompetent medical staff that I often scoff at them . (I will also look at the medical school they went via medical board website for the rest of my life )

I’m just asking we keep this science based when we make postings like this. There are many things out there that’d be more informative than this. If things are so bad, I’d suggest the board just shut the whole space down. A MD is not a scientist or a researcher or particularly versed in stats or math. Sorry.

I know 2 people who know someone who who has died and neither were elderly. I can make posts like that too… but… uhh… why?

Brian this is a warning, your response is not benefiting the discussion here.

I feel your comments here have no-purpose other than to be inflammatory. Your comments are not aiding a civil discussion with others, they are shouts that you think things need to be your way, and discussions shouldn’t take place if they aren’t inline with your desire.

If you disagree with her statements, or her recommendations you can do so other than accusing her of being incompetent.

This isn’t a post about her competency, this is a post about her experience. Her experience doesn’t need to be a peer reviewed scientific journal, its simply her sharing her experience.

if you wish to comment on her experience please do so without name calling, or trash talking.

If you want a science based discussion your free to create a thread where the science can be discussed. This thread is discussion about this doctors experience. So please stay on topic here.

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My post wasn’t about the doctor’s competency. I just don’t elevate MDs and medical staff to a higher status like a lot of people do. Sorry if my point wasn’t clear and it offended you.

Look, if an actual member wants to post their experience, that would be different. I can dig up lots of experiences of various people and post them. I don’t understand why that is useful.

What do you mean specifically that this is a “warning” ? Are you saying you are going to censor me in some manner for having a honest conversation?

I’m sorry that friends of friends have died, Brian. I think we have to make some space for grief and for anger and frustration and fear right now.
I invite you to put up anything you want as far as science that explores Covid’s differences or numbers, how the illness is changing, Austin numbers, austin hospitals, deaths, world numbers – I saw several interesting articles this week – preferably not as a punch but as a “yes, and” –
The “yes, and” is needed I think when a person voices something emotional – because that person offered vulnerable content and that takes courage –

I think you asked a really good question, which was …why?
We can look at the evidence of this, in the way she wrote.
–She wants people to know what she goes through every day, to understand her experience
–She’s feeling overwhelmed and physically exhausted, and afraid for her family, and she wants people to know that.
–She’s asking others in the community to take care of her and the people she cares about.
We met as moderators this afternoon and it is possible that I should have posted this under the “Lounge” setting for Discourse staff because I do want to put out things that are coming my way from different people in the community, but also we know that Covid can be a heated topic –

I hear that you’re also saying you feel the “fact-check” was not used in good faith at our community meeting – I’m sorry you didn’t like that, I don’t think it was used with unkind or aggressive or silencing intent, but to help us meet on ground where we could actually engage each other in good faith. That you reference that also feels like a punch to me personally, in that everybody there, including me, was working extremely hard and came to a useful and peaceable resolution, and I do think we got there – I’m sorry that it wasn’t satisfying or didn’t make you happy.

I don’t appreciate James categorizing my postings as “shouting”. If he is a moderator. [Edit By Tookys: Comment removed for being inappropriate.] . I’ll stop replying after this though.

I do think, this thread should probabaly be removed.

Its probabaly best it not be reposted. I kind of question what the point of this thread was. Is this really something the space should be involved in being the middle man of these experince stories?

If your going to be endorsing a message like that email to everybody is there a strong reason behind it? Or was it just posted for the sake of posting it?

Were not a news paper, we arent responsible for posting OP-ed’s here.

We have already established we have a re-opening team, and that we have restrictions, we dont need to be sending preemptive reminders about restrictions every couple days on these forums.

After discussion with the original poster and moderation team, I’m closing this thread to further comment.

I don’t think anyone was contributing in bad faith, but this isn’t really the place for general discussion about COVID in Austin.