Just say “no” to Ladapo’s confirmation

The following editorial was published in The Daily Sun on Oct 26, 2021.

OUR POSITION: Gov. Ron DeSantis made a mistake when he selected Dr. Joseph Ladapo for the post of surgeon general and it is up to the state Senate to correct the error.

We had doubts about the selection of Dr. Joseph Ladapo as Florida’s surgeon general even before his outrageous actions last week. His disrespect and arrogance during a meeting with Sen. Tina Polsky just confirmed our suspicions that Ladapo was a political and public relations appointment.

If you somehow missed the story, Ladapo was to meet with Sen. Polsky in her office last week. The senator has breast cancer and that has made her even more cautious about the pandemic and the protocols that go along with staying safe.

When Ladapo showed up without a mask, she requested he wear one and he refused. Polsky, a Democrat from Boca Raton, has already had surgery and asked again as the doctor, who has taken an oath to heal and protect lives, would not budge. She threw him out of her office. Good for her.

No matter what your political persuasion — and isn’t it a shame that health and the pandemic have become political? — a doctor should be setting an example for all of us, not flaunting his anti-mask views and endangering a colleague. We can surely count Polsky as one vote against Ladapo’s confirmation by the Florida Senate when that comes up in the near future.

We’re proud of Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Republican, who called out Ladapo for his lack of respect.

“What occurred in Sen. Polsky’s office was unprofessional and will not be tolerated in the Senate,” Simpson said.

Ladapo is a DeSantis darling. He is carrying the torch for the governor who has made no bones about his dislike of mask mandates and other precautions that almost every health professional preaches.

The confrontation, if you want to call it that, with Sen. Polsky further revealed Ladapo’s views on the pandemic and COVID, which are outside the mainstream thinking.

For example, according to the Tallahassee Democrat:

  • Ladapo was quoted as saying that despite reports the vaccines are 90% effective against COVID 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 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.

We can’t have a person who is supposed to be the supreme authority on medicine in our state spewing these kinds of falsehoods while also saying mask mandates are not a good idea.

We urge senators of both parties to stand up for Floridians’ health and the state’s reputation by voting against confirmation for Dr. Ladapo.

 Image Credits: Lawrence Mower