photo in Ontario

COVID-19 Update

A Few Steps Forward, A Few Steps Back

Dr. Bunkis’ mother’s house in Ontario on Tuesday.

Hello from all of us at Orange County Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach, CA and Salisbury Plastic Surgery in Worcester, MA. Dr. Ekstrom is working away in Massachusetts this week and Dr. Bunkis in California. Both of us spent the weekend working so we won’t have any nice stories to tell you like we did last weekend about Roger’s Garden. Dr. Ekstrom spent the weekend getting ready for her upcoming free Visioning Workshop on May 8th – keep your eye on her website, for the sign up page, which should be up in a day or two. Dr. Bunkis spent the weekend seeing patients at the Frozen in Time Spa in West Covina and in the Newport office catching up with paperwork – the unglamorous but necessary part of our jobs!

Just like the weather, see photos above and below of Dr. Bunkis’ Mom’s house in Trenton, Ontario this past week - there have been a mixture of a few steps forward and a step back here and there on the COVID front as well. The CDC temporarily suspended use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine a few weeks ago because of concerns regarding blood clots. Yes, they can occur but less frequently than the same thing happening to women on birth control pills. Weighing the pros and cons, the CDC allowed the J&J vaccine to be used again and this will definitely help with vaccine supplies. An amazing 3 million doses of the COVID vaccinations are being administered daily in the United States. Yet taking a few steps back, millions eligible for their second jab failed to show up and remain not fully vaccinated! In every State, everyone over the age of 16 is eligible for a vaccine, mass vaccination sites are no longer needed and are closing. In Los Angeles, members of the international Consular Corps have been offered vaccines. And in North Dakota, they are even providing vaccines to Canadian truck drivers! For us to be safe, we have to reach a level where 85% of the population has immunity – and that will be impossible to achieve without vaccinating people under the age of 16. The CDC has come out with a statement that vaccinating pregnant women is safe and desirable, but studies on children are still pending. About half of the US population has now received at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 30 % are fully vaccinated. And now a number of reports are coming out showing that a number of fully vaccinated people are still turning positive with COVID-19 infection. We always knew that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 95 to 97% effective, meaning that 3-5% of vaccinated patients would later be found to be COVID-19 positive. But earlier writings told us that those who did get infected usually got a mild case “no worse than a cold”. Now we know that not to be completely true. Of the first 75 million patients fully vaccinated in the US, 5,800 subsequently tested positive for COVID infection. A third of these patients were completely asymptomatic, but 7% required hospitalization, and 74 people died! So the new “normal” is yet to be defined!

There has been encouraging news on the COVID-19 front in the US. Nationwide, instead of seeing a rise in the number of cases as we have been seeing for months, in the last 2 weeks, we have seen a 6% decrease in cases. California’s coronavirus case rate is now the lowest in the continental United States. California and Massachusetts are two of 26 States that still have mandatory mask mandates. The other States have either voluntary or no mask mandates. Businesses are reopening and by Memorial Day, Rhode Island and many other States will have removed all capacity limits on businesses, leading us to think that we are looking at a more “normal” summer. But many universities in Massachusetts and California are mandating vaccinations for their students, faculty and workers before returning in the fall – so the new “normal” will not be identical to pre-pandemic behavior.

A few steps forward, a few steps back. Even as optimism abounds in the US, with number of infections in in steep decline, as it is in ten other highly developed and wealthy nations that have been able to provide vaccines to its population in significant numbers, Canada remains on lockdown as the number of cases continues to rise in spite of strict lockdown orders. The story is similar in Germany, where the death toll has tripled in recent months. Italy is a mess. And in India, bodies are piling up faster than they can be cremated! The worldwide death toll is now at 3.1 MILLION, up by 87,000 in the last week alone! Thank God for your blessings each and every day!

Same tree the next morning – definitely a step back!

Same tree the next morning – definitely a step back!

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:

Or for MA location, call 508-755-4911 or visit

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