VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You may have seen the image — children seen standing up against a window, taken by a mother with a desperate plea amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Vancouver emergency room doctor has now gone weeks without holding her daughters after deciding to isolate from them to reduce the risk of possibly transmitting the virus to her loved ones.
“In the four nights before I made the decision I laid awake like crying, like it’s really hard to decide you’re gonna isolate from your kids and the rest of your family,” Anna Carvalho told CityNews Vancouver in an exclusive interview.
The single mother tweeted out the picture to her modest 300 followers, along with the message, “My increased exposure means that I have chosen to isolate from my family, to keep them safe. This is how I see my daughters (pictured with their cousins, with whom they’re staying). If I can do this, you can stay home.”
I am an emergency physician. My increased exposure means that I have chosen to isolate from my family, to keep them safe. This is how I see my daughters (pictured with their cousins, with whom they’re staying).
If I can do this, you can stay home. #stayhome #BCdocs #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/pv6Ys9OQEk
— Anna Carvalho (@thelastanna) March 25, 2020
It’s since been shared hundreds of thousands of times and seen by millions.
“I had just come from visiting my daughters and through the window as I drove home I passed a coffee shop that was crammed with people and was so frustrated by the people and grabbed that photo and tweeted it out. So it was borne out of can’t we just all try a little bit harder,” she said. “it was one sort of off-the-cuff tweet, and yes, over 14 million views, which is incredible.”
But it’s not personal attention she wants — Carvalho is begging others to heed the message.
The ER doctor works at Vancouver General Hospital on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. It’s why she says protecting her loved ones meant staying away.
“All the cuddles that you’re like, ‘Urgh, I’m busy have stuff to do,’ I would love it, I would love a snuggle right now,” she said. “The issue is my parents are elderly, my dad is immuno-suppressed, and I can’t risk bringing the virus home from work, transferring it to my daughters even though I have an insane decontamination routine when I get home, and then having them transferring it to them when they’re sleeping over when I’m working a night shift.”
Carvalho doesn’t know how long she’ll have to continue to see her girls through a pane of glass, something that’s become the new normal for her family and many others.
“The one thing that made it possible is nothing is forever, I didn’t sign a contract to isolate forever, so we’ll take it week by week and if next week I decide I can’t do it anymore, I can try to find an alternate arrangement.”
Until the, Carvalho will be focused on the reasons why she’s staying back now, know that in the long run, hugs from her loved ones will mean more because of it.
“I tell myself lies as to when that will be so it’ll be in a couple weeks and I’ll keep telling myself that week after week.”
Carvalho’s tweet has even caught the attention of some celebrities.
The ER doctor will have a small cameo in Lady Gaga’s broadcast concert this weekend, airing on CityTV Saturday night. The concert is in support of the fight against COVID-19, and will feature stories of heroes around the world, including Carvalho.
You can catch more on this story on CityNews at Six tonight.