New Surgeon General on the mask, vaccines warrants; champion of hydroxychloroquine
Florida’s new Surgeon General and Secretary of the Department of Health opposes government shutdowns and warrants for vaccines and masks, as does his boss, Gov. Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis announced on Tuesday Dr. Joseph A. LadapoUCLA associate professor David Geffen School of Medicine will head the Florida Department of Health and be the state’s top public health official.
“He’s coming to Florida with a really great experience, bringing great intelligence but also, I think, will bring great leadership,” DeSantis said. “It’s a big deal to cross the country from Southern California to the state of Florida. But we think Joe is just the right guy for the job.
Like his new boss, Ladapo opposes mask warrants, government shutdowns and vaccine warrants and recently wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal expressing these views.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a remarkable flow of scientific investigations, but this knowledge is not translating into better public policies. One example is the zealous pursuit of mask-wearing in public, a measure that has had, at best, a modest effect on viral transmission. Or take blockages, shown by research to increase the number of deaths overall, but nonetheless still seen as an acceptable solution, ”Ladapo wrote. “This intellectual disconnect now extends to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The policy is touted as key to stopping the spread of COVID-19, although evidence suggests it won’t. “
Ladapo said on Tuesday he was happy to be in Florida to work with DeSantis.
“Florida will reject fear altogether as a means of shaping public health policy. So we are done with fear. This is something that has unfortunately been at the heart of health policy in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and it is here. Expiration date. It’s done, “he said.
More than 50,000 Floridians have died from complications from COVID-19 as a result of the delta variant outbreak. The past two months have been among the deadliest in Florida for the pandemic.
Ladapo signed a document known as Great Barrington Declaration, who argues that instead of focusing on blockages, health officials should focus most of their attention on those most at risk of dying from COVID-19.
He also has co-authored an opinion piece for The New York Daily News in October 2020, suggesting that hydroxychloroquine is beneficial for patients.
“People in the United States and around the world should have access to it, and doctors should feel empowered to prescribe hydroxychloroquine to their vulnerable patients,” the opinion piece notes.
Ladapo said on Tuesday that he was friends with one of the perpetrators, Jay bhattacharya, the Stanford University professor who has been a strong supporter of DeSantis’ approach to the pandemic.
Reports released last summer say that Ladapo joined a group known as “America’s Frontline Doctors”, who released a video aggressively promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine.
Before announcing Ladapo’s hiring, DeSantis thanked the former Secretary of the Department of Health, Dr. Scott Rivkees, whose last day was Monday, and the DOH Deputy Secretary for Health Shamarial Roberson, who is leaving his post in the state in October.
DeSantis noted that Rivkees, who took office in the summer of 2019, has worked “incredibly hard” during his two-year tenure with the department.
DeSantis noted that Rivkees has been working “very hard COVID on a number of health issues affecting the state. And then, of course, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, it was really a seven-day-a-week type of job. So I want to thank him for his service to the state.
Although the Senate has confirmed it, Rivkees faces scrutiny and tough questions about a reported history of sexually suggestive comments and his intention to continue working at the University of Florida, where he remained a full-time employee.
Ladapo will need to be confirmed by the Florida Senate.
Florida Political Editor Renzo downey contributed to this report.