COVID-19 Update


The season of rebirth, of hope – park in Clinton, MA last Sunday

Hello from all of us at Orange County Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach, CA and Salisbury Plastic Surgery in Worcester, MA. Spring is here, hope springs eternal! In many States, including MA and CA, restrictions are being lifted and everyone over the age of 16 is now eligible for a vaccine – supply is still an issue and although we are vaccinating 3 million people per day, availability is still the main choke point. Lines persist. So far, 1 in 5 Americans are fully vaccinated, a third have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and another 11% of the population (31,292,100 of us!) has had COVID-19 infection and is presumed to have some degree of immunity, at least for the time being. Yet cases are still on the rise (up 6% over the last few weeks and we are showing 730 coronavirus deaths each day). With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout expanding across the country, coronavirus case rates are flattening in most areas (not so in Michigan, Texas and Georgia), stay-at-home restrictions are being lifted and we are slowly coming back to life. But is it too soon to “return to normal”?

Return to a new normal is predicated upon our vaccine supplies growing and our ability to inject our population continuing to expand – without hitches such as new variants not affected by current vaccines showing up, problems with current vaccines appearing, or supply disruptions occurring. And this past week we saw some of these events occurring. Johnson & Johnson announced that it would have to destroy millions of doses of its vaccine because a quality control issue was uncovered at its Baltimore plant – both Massachusetts and California announced vaccinations in the next few weeks will be hampered by the lack of the J&J vaccines. There are certain advantages to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as it is less temperature sensitive than the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and the J&J requires a single dose to acquire immunity versus the two for the other vaccines. Roughly 7 million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. In this past week we have also heard disturbing news that studies are showing an increased incidence of blood clots occurring in patients who have received the Johnson and Johnson vaccines here in the States (but not with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines). Of the 7 million receiving this vaccine, six patients have developed serious blood clots and the CDC has suggested halting use of the J&J vaccine until this issue has been studied further. A very small percentage of recipients of this vaccine produce antibodies against their own platelets, leading to the blood clots. While any complication or loss of life is very significant, to put things in perspective, the chance of getting serious complications or dying from a COVID infection are far higher than this! This problem will be overcome as well!

California has announced that it is aiming to “reopen its economy by June 15th”. But what does this reopening mean? Certainly not reopening our economies and lives to pre pandemic levels! The mask mandate will remain in place and capacity at many businesses and venues will remain limited. Several colleges in the Boston area and throughout the country have announced that they will be reopening campuses, but warning students and staff that they will have to be fully vaccinated before returning to campus. Some venues will demand proof of vaccination before granting admission. A Houston hospital chain has ordered all 26,000 of its employees to get vaccinated as a condition of continued employment. And the European Union is developing a “Digital Green Certificate”, which will facilitate safe movement of vaccinated people during the pandemic, but similar suggestions here have not been well received. Yes, the economies are slowly reopening, but some businesses just will not survive this shutdown. And sadly the PacificTheaters cinema chain and ArcLight Cinemas theaters just announced today that they will not be reopening after this pandemic – in part because this pandemic has created alternatives to watching movies in a theater, and these chains saw the writing on the wall. Just another victim of this COVID-19 pandemic.

Boston to LAX, over Lake Ontario, Canada

Boston to LAX, over Lake Ontario, Canada

Stay healthy! Stay happy and persevere! Feed the Courage Wolf and starve the Fear Wolf!

The end of the pandemic is almost here! Go conquer another mountain!

Get vaccinated!

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

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

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