Why I took off my mask and put on my sunglasses

We are coming to the end of this pandemic nightmare, yet there is still so much chaos, uncertainty, and fear. It’s a lot to sort through, but I’m going to try and tackle some of it. Please sit down and buckle up, because this is a bit of a meandering rant and I state some opinions that you might disagree with. I’ve edited through it many times, and I think that — despite the rants — it is actually a hopeful message.

Tomato Lady

This essay started at the Portland Nursery. It was a sunny Monday morning, flowers were blooming…

5/15/21 Edition

Pfizer is approved for Teens

This is 3-day-old news by now, but the Pfizer 2-shot course is approved for ages 12–15. Expect a long waitlist at the Pediatrician’s, as doctors’ offices are seeing a lot of demand and aren’t staffed for mass vaccination. There is availability at the large vaccination sites, and also at Pharmacies. [Update: there was plenty of availability at Walgreens on Thursday, so we easily got our 12-year-old vaccinated]

Looking forward, Pfizer has started testing on ages 2–11, with approval expected in September. …

More Progress! Also something about Kids, QBs, and the Cost of Care

Measurable Progress Continues

19% of Oregon is fully vaccinated, and more than 31% have had at least one dose. I’m predicting that about 60% of Oregonians will want to get vaccinated, so we’re well on our way to getting doses to many of the people who want them.

Looking back to COVID Convos #35, I predicted that the pandemic would be over by Memorial Day. I stand by that prediction but want to clarify that the pandemic will be over for those who choose to be vaccinated.


COVID Convos #37

Vaccine-induced Antibodies

I was given the Pfizer vaccine, and I really didn’t feel sick at all. Around the same time, my wife got dosed with Moderna and she also felt pretty decent. Why didn’t we feel ill? I wondered if we had missed out, or maybe something was wrong: did our immune systems not work? Were they bad batches of vaccine? Maybe I’m just really tough and don’t feel pain?…unlikely! Perhaps the fatigue, headaches, and muscle pain that we already have from being parents masked the vaccine side effects? …

Journal Club Edition

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Journal Club is to doctors what Book Club is to you normal people who lead interesting non-medical lives. Sure, journal club usually involves food and drink but instead of reading interesting fiction, we doctors “read” boring research papers. I put “read” in quotes because just like your book club, not everyone bothers to read the material but all attendees enjoy the food, drink, and camaraderie.

I don’t expect you to really read any of these research papers or news stories I’ve selected. But perhaps you’ll grab some cheese and crackers — or a refreshing beverage — and peruse my summaries…

This week: zeros, equity, a letter to Texas, and the last day of the pandemic

But first: freedom of speech.

My Neighbor is Wrong

Everyone has the right to free speech, but I believe that rule should only apply to speech that is factually correct.

While my neighbor does have the right to share their opinions, their purported facts are wrong. The correct statement is that masks are required outdoors when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Here’s the Oregon FAQ with the rule. Oregon’s mask mandate applies to all public indoor spaces, but only congested outdoor public places.

If you know this homeowner, please invite them to join COVID Convos? I’m worried about…

Springtime, Herds, Hunger Games, Canadian music

What a topsy-turvy-churny world we live in these days! Spring is coming, but we still have a pandemic. It’s been a sunny and warm week, but vaccines are hard to find. It’s disorienting to consider where we’ve been, and confusing to imagine where we are going. But don’t worry, COVID Convos is coming to sort it all out!

Spring is Here

So first off, happy Meteorological Spring! While Astronomical Spring isn’t until March 20th, the dedicated weather nerds count March 1st as the beginning of spring, and the recent week full of sunshine and chirping birds support that. I have…

Air Travel, Vaccines, Antibodies, and the End of Quarantine

Disclaimer: the tone of these updates is candid and sometimes irreverent. COVID is a sensitive subject, so opt-in or out at your own discretion. This update does not constitute medical advice.

COVID Convos, where as usual, I tell it to you straight. No sugar coating, no BS, and sometimes no tact.

When will it be safe to indulge in air travel again?

This is a great question that a number of people have asked, so I decided to investigate. Being a good reporter I booked a flight to learn firsthand, and…

Ignore math at your own peril.

Note from Andrew: I’m experimenting with publishing content from smart people I trust who don’t have another outlet for their intelligent writing. This is one of those essays, written by a wiser man than I.

Bad statistics bother me everywhere I see them, but it makes me near homicidal when bad statistics are used in ways that will kill people. I’m not faulting people who are statistically illiterate. I know plenty of people who are math and engineering literate who are STILL statistics illiterate. Statistics is hard and not just for math reasons. It requires bending your mind around things…

A Guest Essay From My Wife on Maintaining Sanity

I’ve been avoiding Facebook these days.

As an ER doctor with dwindling PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), my sanity depends on having some respite from anxiety, and Facebook seems to be the epicenter of anxiety lately. (Admittedly I am still on Instagram; somehow that’s a little easier.)

When I’m not at work I’m a wife and also a mother of 2 fabulous kids. Between the two extremes of working ER shifts in the COVID line of fire and being locked down at home with cabin fever, stress and anxiety and frustration are…

Andrew Miller

Doctor, Reader, Thinker

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