As Covid-19 skyrockets, Florida Governor DeSantis and Surgeon General Ladapo are still spreading misinformation


Last September, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Dr. Joseph Ladapo as his Surgeon General. Ladapo was a controversial choice at the time and it only got worse.

Note that Ladapo is a cardiovascular physician. He has no training in epidemiology, virology or infectious diseases. Ladapo was a signatory to the Great Barrington Declaration, promoting “collective immunity” and the standardization of activities. He has been involved in promoting the beliefs of America’s Frontline Doctors, a right-wing “fringe” group that fuels misinformation about ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

Among his other atypical beliefs (for a public health official) are his opposition to masks and vaccines and his claim that vaccination has “been treated almost like a religion, and that is just plain insane.” This may be partly why the vaccination rate in Florida is not so good; Florida ranks 22sd states, with an immunization rate of 63%. Florida has gone so far as to take vaccine ads off the air.

On Christmas Day, the Florida Department of Health tweeted, “The best way to spread the joy of Christmas is to sing along so everyone can hear it!” This advice was incredibly misguided, as singing has long been shown to be a major risk for the spread of Covid.

Today Ladapo and DeSantis held another press conference, echoing many of the same themes he had in the past and again full of misleading statements.

“We have to untie these tests – a kind of planning and life around testing. Without that, we’ll kind of be stuck in the same cycle, ”Ladapo said. “It is really time for people to live,” he continued. “To make whatever decisions they want about vaccination and take advantage of the fact that many people have natural immunity and to break free from this concern with only COVID as determining the limits, constraints and possibilities of life.”

This is of particular concern, as Florida is experiencing a new wave of infection. Since the start of the Covid in 2020, more than 4.1 million Floridians have been infected and 62,504 have died. The 7-day moving average of cases was 43,168 on January 1 and 62,504 deaths. Yet only 72% of eligible people (> 12 years old) have been vaccinated, and Ladapo and DeSantis avoid masking, although this has been shown to be effective in reducing transmission of Covid.

At the same time, as DeSantis and Ladapo oppose commonly accepted and inexpensive public health checks for Covid – masks and vaccinations – they are both keen to promote monoclonal antibody treatments. REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab) costs taxpayers $ 2,100 per dose compared to $ 20 for vaccination. Seven southern states accounted for 70% of REGEN-COV use. The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) specified that the drug was not a substitute for vaccination. This monoclonal antibody is no longer effective against Omicron. The last effective monoclonal antibody is sotrovimab, at $ 2,200 / dose.

At the press conference, Thomas Kennedy, a well-known organizer and “agitator,” tried to ask DeSantis and Lapado why test sites have been closed since May. He did not receive a response. State officials have refused to reopen testing sites despite demands from hard-hit counties.

Journalist Jeffrey Schweers noted the ‘podium sign reads’ Early treatment saves lives’. Background: Ladapo sent letter to HHS accusing Biden of not sending enough monoclonal antibody treatments to Florida… The day after Ladapo sent his letter to HHS, the federal government sent 2,580 doses of Sotromivab to Florida , in addition to the 1,050 doses sent previously. Why should they be allowed to have a disproportionate amount of sotromivab or Paxlovid, which are in extraordinarily limited quantities, when their policies fuel Covid, one might ask.

Note in the video below that neither Ladapo nor those around him are wearing masks at Broward Health Center.

There was a swift and strong backlash against the Ladapo press conference from real experts in the fight against Covid. Ashish jha, Dean of Brown’s School of Public Health, tweeted:

Michael Mina, MD / Ph.D., an immunologist and epidemiologist added:

There are discussions on Twitter that DeSantis and Lapado are set to release their own test orders, which will exclude children. We’ll have to wait and see, but that would be consistent with their claims about only testing high-risk people or what they call “high-value tests.”

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