OUR POSITION: Florida’s recently appointed surgeon general is doing nothing significant to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
We’re curious if Gov. Ron DeSantis is playing a joke on us by supporting Joseph Ladapo as Florida’s surgeon general, or if he is using the new appointee to spread the message that he truly believes in.
Ladapo burst onto the scene a couple of months ago saying and doing everything seemingly the opposite of what the Centers for Disease Control were recommending to protect people from COVID-19. He was mocking the CDC and anyone who believed in vaccines and wearing masks — although careful not to expressly say not to get the vaccine.
We wrote about a couple of examples previously.
Ladapo was quoted as saying that despite reports the vaccines are 90% effective against COVID-19 that now we are finding out that less than 40% of people are protected.
That is false. Pfizer and Moderna were found to be 85% effective against infection and 95% effective against hospitalization and death. Johnson & Johnson was 65% effective against infection and 85% against death and hospitalization after extensive testing. They have not done as well against the Delta variant but are still provide 60% to 90% effectiveness against hospitalization.
Ladapo has said infections “will happen whether people are vaccinated or not.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Johns Hopkins say that is mostly false. While there have been some reports of breakthrough cases, they are very rare, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. A study in Washington state saw only 1 in 5,000 had a breakthrough infection between Jan. 17 and Aug. 21, said Johns Hopkins.
Then Ladapo irked even the Senate president after a confrontation with a Democrat senator over wearing a mask.
If you remember, he was to meet with Sen. Tina Polsky in her office. The senator has breast cancer and, as she should, respects the rules of mask wearing and other COVID-19 protocols. But Ladapo showed up without a mask. When she requested he use one, he refused.
What kind of arrogance is that? Polsky threw him out.
Now, the surgeon general is taking his opposition to mandates and vaccines too far in our opinion.
He has filmed a public service announcement as part of the Florida Department of Health’s “Let’s Live” campaign that touts treatments for COVID-19 that are unproven and have not shown to have any, or minimal, impact on the virus.
Ladapo suggested people talk to their doctor about Fluvoxomine, an antidepressant pill and inhaled budesonide, a medication used for asthma patients. The PSA sends people to another website for more information and that site suggests those two medications are treatment options that have had little research and no test against the new variants delta and omicron.
The PSA never mentions vaccines but suggests vitamins and exercise are a good idea.
Some Florida doctors find Ladapo’s PSA and actions alarming.
In a Sun Sentinel story, Dr. Frederick Southwick, an infectious disease specialist in Gainesville, said the PSA is “ridiculous.” While the two medications may help, especially given in concert with proven vaccines, there have been no major studies on their impact and/or side effects.
We agree with Southwick when he asked “why not just promote the stuff that’s proven?”
Why does Ladapo, who has the position of leadership for Floridians’ health, continue to do everything he can to undermine treatments that have saved thousands of lives?
It just doesn’t make sense.