I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the nice spring weather. Maybe some of you took in the Masters last weekend! This weekend is the Heritage Golf Tournament in Hilton Head. It was unfortunate that the Volvo Cup was not open to spectators, but it's great to see that at least the regular sports calendar is resuming. It looks like the Heritage will be open to spectators, though with capacity limits.
A lot of you may be scratching your heads over the conflicting Covid stories that are circulating and have fears of vaccination after the decision to halt the JandJ vaccine. Covid has given new meaning to the term "practicing medicine," as it seems like we are practicing every day how to treat and manage Covid since the news keeps changing! Here's a little info that I hope will help decipher the information.
In South Carolina, we have had almost 600k reported cases when you total the actual and presumed cases. We had very high case counts per capita early in January (especially in Greenville County); in fact, SC saw some of the highest per capita numbers in the nation. The silver lining to those high case counts is that (in my opinion) it has helped SC come closer to herd immunity than other states. Since 25% of the SC is under the age of 18, and another 20% (rounded numbers) have been vaccinated, combined with the high case numbers,
I believe the state is faring well, which is being confirmed by our declining hospital utilization rates and the fact that our daily mortality numbers have returned to the numbers we say this time last year (on average, less than 10 deaths per day have been reported over the last week for the state at large).
In contract, states like Michigan and countries like France are seeing surges. These surges in Michigan are causing hospitals to consider halting elective surgeries again. France has delayed the upcoming French Open due to health concerns.
Both Michigan and France has seen much stricter lockdowns than SC over the last year. In Michigan, the stricter lockdowns may have contributed to the overall lower Covid case numbers when compared to SC over the last year, but on Sunday, for instance, Michigan reported over 6k cases versus our 447 cases. Michigan's population is almost double that of SC, but their total cases have been approximately 700k, versus the @600K in the state of SC.
The vaccination rates between the 2 states are fairly comparable. So this leads me to believe that their spikes are due to the delayed re-openings in that states. In France, I believe the surge is due to similar factors, combined with much lower vaccination rates. The variants are also contributing to the case numbers, but SC was seeing these variants going back to December and January at least, and in fact SC was one of the first places in the US to confirm the South African variant in January. The vaccines may not have >90 efficacy against every variant, but they are effective against them, as proven by the declining hospitalization numbers. For reference, the flu vaccines typically have approximately 50% efficacy or less!
So despite concerns over blood clots associated with the JandJ vaccine, now is not the time to cancel your vaccine appointments! The reports of clots have been in 6 women of child bearing age out of 7 million vaccines administered.
In fact, the risks of serious clots are higher in birth control pills! It is also uncertain at this point what other factors may have contributed to the clots in these women as clots occur in patients who are smokers, obese, immobile, on birth control pills, etc. It is important to remember that every drug has risks.
Botox, for instance, even has a Black Box warning due to risks of cardiac events, which is why the state requires that Botox only be administered in a medical setting where resuscitative equipment is available. So remember this if you ever get invited to a Botox party at someone's home or a hair salon where the wine is flowing! It may sound fun, but....
Speaking of Botox, I wanted to send out a little teaser about Mother's Day Specials. We'll come up with something enticing if you want to treat your mom or yourself! So keep posted.
Whether it's all the Zoom calls or the fact that people are getting out and about more, the demand for Botox, fillers, and facial procedures remain high, and we're seeing great satisfaction with our minimal facial procedures and suture lift techniques.
And to end my weekly blog, I wanted to share an inspirational speech. Since we're nearing graduation time, I remembered a great speech delivered at the University of Texas in 2014 by Admiral McRaven. He actually has a new book our about hope. Anyway, here is a link, since who doesn't need a little inspiration these days!