Happy holidays!

COVID-19 Update

Merry Christmas!

Hello from all of us at Orange County Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach, CA and Salisbury Plastic Surgery in Worcester, MA. Dr. Ekstrom and I are both working in California this week and enjoying Christmas in a warmer environment than Massachusetts, where winter has arrived – although looking at the weather forecast for the upcoming week, it seems like winter will be arriving on Christmas Day here in Newport Beach! (Horrible….68 degrees and cloudy…….but Dr. Ekstrom points out that there will not be anything to shovel!).

Where does one start talking about the COVID pandemic this week? There has been so much news in the last week, some of it awesome, some very grim. A frightening story out of the UK talks about a mutant virus which is much more contagious and is deadlier than the coronavirus strain we have been dealing with since the beginning of the pandemic (so far, the new strain has not made it to the United States, but I am sure it will!) – the good news is that the new vaccines are supposedly just as effective against the new strain of the coronavirus.

The pandemic numbers this week are similar across the country but let’s look at the Los Angeles County statistics for starters. Los Angeles has surpassed 9,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths this year. To show you how the spread of COVID infections and deaths are rapidly escalating, L.A. County has experience more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in just two weeks; on December 8 the County reported 8,000 deaths. One in 80 Angelinos has suffered a COVID infection! Massachusetts has recorded 11,549 COVID related deaths so far this year. The United States death toll has surpassed 325,000 citizens! Coronavirus has made 2020 the deadliest year in US history! Deaths in the US are expected to top 3 million for 2020, a 15 percent increase from the year before, the largest one-year percentage jump since 1918.

New restrictions imposed by California and Massachusetts, nationwide, actually, are not slowing the spread of this disease – the solution will only be found with massive immunization of our population. And with both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines now being administered nationwide, sooner or later we should see the numbers begin to come down and the situation normalize.

I have been asked which vaccine I would accept and my answer is very easy – I will take the first one that is offered to me! We have all heard that the Pfizer vaccine is more difficult to transport and handle because it has to be kept at almost 100 degrees below zero until it is ready to use, while normal household freezer temperatures will suffice for the Moderna vaccine. But trust me, either will do the job just fine, reported complications have been very few and minor and I really think we should all just accept whichever one we can get first. The first doses have been allocated to front line health care workers and nursing home residents (and of course, to many politicians). First responders and service industry workers will receive the second wave of vaccinations. Sooner or later, all of us will have an opportunity to have the vaccine, and I would strongly urge all of you to be vaccinated. Stay safe out there in the meantime!

Let me tell you a scary story that illustrates why this disease is so difficult to control. We are having our office gift exchange today and we decided to invite a student we had with us three months ago. Per our office policy, we asked her to get a rapid COVID test before coming to our office. She did, turned out positive and is quarantining! She is not particularly ill and she could have easily spread the virus to all of us! So even with family members who are not members of your immediate household and very close friends, I encourage all of you to get COVID tested prior to getting together.

Say what you want about the COVID relief bill passed by Congress yesterday (I personally wish it could have been more substantial and targeted more to people suffering the most), it was refreshing to see both sides of the isle come together in a bipartisan effort to help the American people! Perhaps 2021 will be a better year for all of us!

And on that positive note, let’s all reflect on the meaning of this Season. Wishing all of you a blessed, happy and healthy Holiday!

My personal assistant, Stevie’s little boy, Davey, is joining us for our gift exchange today. There is nothing as special as seeing the smile on a child’s face at Christmas!

My personal assistant, Stevie’s little boy, Davey, is joining us for our gift exchange today. There is nothing as special as seeing the smile on a child’s face at Christmas!

To your health and well-being. Stay healthy! Stay happy and persevere!

Keep wearing your masks in public, social distancing, continue to wash your hands frequently, all of you get tested before getting together with friends and family, get vaccinated when you get the opportunity, be safe, be happy, be healthy and prosper!

Enjoy your families!

Be grateful for what you have now and for what is on the horizon.

If you need Dr. Ekstrom or I, please call 949-888-9700 or visit our websites at:


Or call 508-755-4911

You can respond in the comment section below or write to me at bunkis@ocps.com

Thanks for staying in touch and for your feedback!