Sunrise from our balcony on Kiawah Island, South Carolina

COVID-19 Update


Happy Thanksgiving! Hello from all of us at Orange County Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach, CA and Salisbury Plastic Surgery in Worcester, MA – and from Dr. Ekstrom and I personally on Kiawah Island, South Carolina! Yes, the COVID numbers continue to rise. They will probably spike again after Thanksgiving because so many people will be getting together with family and loved ones – but I can certainly see the desire to get together with family. We are all ready to move on, but do remain vigilant! This certainly is a year like no other, the good and the bad. This is Thanksgiving week and a time like no other to look at our lives introspectively. There is not a day that I wake up without reviewing my situation, counting my blessings, thinking and planning my day to come, exercising and having a healthy breakfast. In the last few weeks, what I have been exceedingly grateful for has been all of the good news emerging about the new COVID-19 vaccines.

Let us look at the latest regarding the pending vaccines. Some 200 COVID-19 vaccines are in development worldwide. Nearly 50 vaccines, based on different technologies, are in development throughout the world. Russia and China are vaccinating millions of their citizens with vaccines (which seem to be working) about which we have no scientific information. Last week we discussed the pending vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, whose success rates are approaching 95% effectiveness. This week we received news that the AstraZenica/Oxford University virus will also be effective – early reports stated that the effectiveness of this vaccine was from 62 to 90% but a further look at the numbers showed that the lower effectiveness rates occurred with smaller doses of the vaccine, so obviously, the final version will be at the higher dose and the effectiveness will equal Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccine. The cost of the AstraZenica vaccine will come in at $3 to $4 per dose, is easier to distribute because it is not as temperature sensitive (the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have to be shipped on dry ice), and AstraZenica announced that it will have 3 billion doses available before the end of 2021! Does that sound like progress to you? All the big players are involved. Merck, a giant US pharmaceutical, just announced that it has acquired a biotech firm, OncoImmume, which has reported positive results from a late-stage study of corona virus treatment for patients infected with the virus. Every week we follow this, more and more positive results will follow – and the pandemic WILL BECOME THE PAST during 2021! But please do not let your guard down before you are vaccinated!

Yes, Dr. Ekstrom and I are in South Carolina this week. Yes, the CDC has issued a travel advisory for this week, asking people not to travel. We do so responsibly, wear N95 masks, social distance whenever possible, wash our hands frequently and eat self-prepared meals in our condo on the beach. South Carolina has been rather refreshing. Yes, numbers are rising here as well but no worse than in California or Massachusetts. Everyone one we have seen in town has been wearing masks covering their mouths and nose, unlike at California and Massachusetts airports I have been to recently (shocks me to see so many people walking around with masks covering their chins!). But everything in SC is open and business is thriving! Restaurants, museums, etc, are all open. This reminds me of the Scandinavian experience earlier this year. Sweden refused to shut down businesses, people continued to go to restaurants, bars and shows, yet Sweden’s COVID-19 numbers were no worse than its Scandinavian neighbors, which did follow a US model of shutting down businesses and asking people to stay home! Why?

I have absolutely loved my time in the South. There is so much history in South Carolina. Charleston is more than 350 years old (not very impressive for my European patients and friends but impressive by USA standards)! There are plaques around town designating buildings from pre Revolutionary War days, and buildings where signers of the Constitution lived and worked! We visited a graveyard with headstones dating to the 1700’s and went to a church this past Sunday that George Washington had attended!

Graveyard behind St. Michael’s Church in Charlestown, from pre George Washington times

Graveyard behind St. Michael’s Church in Charlestown, from pre George Washington times

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

Keep wearing your masks in public, social distancing, continue to wash your hands frequently, 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.


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