To Mask Or Not To Mask - That Is The Question!
Shakespeare pondering the future!
Hello from all of us at Orange County Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach, CA and
Salisbury Plastic Surgery in Worcester, MA. What a busy week COVID wise!
Overall, the news in Massachusetts and California has been favorable – in large
part because of the low number of people in our states skeptical of the vaccine
(nationwide, a full third of American adults remain skeptical of the vaccine).
Both have reached a milestone with over 50% of our populations receiving at
least one dose of the vaccine. In the United States, a full 36% of the
population has been fully vaccinated and we seem to have avoided the 4th wave of
COVID-19 infections that was predicted at the end of last year. Despite the good
news, we must emphasize that the crisis is not over yet. The true end of the
pandemic will arrive once 85% of the population has been vaccinated or has
natural antibodies from a prior COVID-19 infection – that will take about 70% of
the population to be fully vaccinated. That will happen for us later this
summer. But as the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Vaccination rates
remain extremely low in most of the world, especially in poorer countries, due
to a lack of vaccine, and for reasons unclear to us, in Canada! Only 0.3% of
vaccine produced worldwide has reached the 29 poorest countries. As vaccines
enter arms in the richer countries, the pandemic has split in two, with few
deaths in some cities around the world while thousands die in others. No deaths
have been recorded among health care workers in Southern California in the last
three weeks! Yet at the same time, hundreds of thousands are dying in Brazil and
The CDC made two major announcements that will affect all of us going forward. First of all, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children as young as 12 years of age. This past week, teens started getting the jab as school officials race to formulate vaccination rules before the start of the next school year. The availability of vaccines to middle and high school students is a huge milestone in the battle against the virus. Currently, only 7% of high school students in LA County returned to the classrooms. Clearly, education will suffer for those not returning to school!
The other CDC announcement dealt with mask wearing. The agency acknowledged it had fallen behind scientific evidence which has shown for months that there was very little chance of catching COVID infections outdoors. The CDC has announced that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks in most settings, including crowded indoor gatherings. But masks are still recommended in businesses and in crowded venues, both indoors and out.
This definitely sends a message that vaccination can end the COVID pandemic. Fully vaccinated people can gather mask free, hug children and grandchildren, date, eat in restaurants, go to movies and concerts, worship and travel. COVID-19 is with us to stay and COVID risks will not fall to zero. COVID will just become one of many small risks we accept in our daily lives like driving cars, catching the flu or a cold, or going for a walk.
Both of our Moms were 94 at the beginning of last week. Both are mentally sharp. Both have suffered from social isolation during this pandemic. They have not been able to have visitors, hug children, grandchildren or great grandchildren. Neighbors could not come over. In person social interaction has been put on hold. In Canada, churches have been closed or attendance drastically limited. And we have not been able to visit them!
Dr. Ekstrom’s Mom has received both doses of her vaccination, but Dr. Bunkis’ Mom was able to get the first dose of her vaccine last month but will not be able to get her second dose until June or July! What are those Canadian officials thinking? Anyway, two days ago, Jadviga Bunkis celebrated her 95th birthday – virtually! That was a day after she finished planting her garden for the spring! She was born in the newly independent nation of Latvia on May 15, 1926! 1926, when Janis Cakste was the President of Latvia and Calvin Coolidge in the US. 1926, when the Ford Model T was being manufactured in Michigan, but rural Latvia where Mrs. Bunkis was born, roads were dirt and people walked or used horses for transportation. This was a year before Charles Lindberg made his historic flight across the Atlantic. She endured World War II and refugee status. What an incredible ride she has had through life – and she is still going strong! We cannot wait to get together with her in person, many times before we all get together to celebrate her 100th!
Mama Bunkis on her 95th birthday!
Stay healthy! Stay happy and persevere! Feed the Courage Wolf and starve the
The end of the pandemic is almost here! Go conquer another mountain!
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 508-755-4825 or visit
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Thanks for staying in touch and for your feedback!