The panel included a plethora of epidemiologists and physicians, some of whom criticized what the governor’s office called the “failure of lockdowns and mandates” for masking and vaccinations, and decried “lockdown politicians” and the larger medical establishment.
Appointed by Gov. Ron “I can be Trumpier than Trump” DeSantis, Ladapo has continued to deny the efficacy of masking, vaccines, and quarantining for those with COVID-19. After refusing to wear a mask in October, just after the delta variant peaked, in a meeting with Florida Democratic state Sen. Tina Polsky—who has breast cancer—Ladapo revealed who he truly was.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 17; vaccines for children younger than 5 have not yet been approved. The elderly are far more likely to die from COVID-19 than children, but the CDC website notes COVID-19 is one of the top 10 causes of death for children aged 5 to 11.
In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Ladapo repeatedly called the pandemic “Covid mania,” saying it has “wreaked havoc on science and its influence on policy,” and disparaged the use of masks, mandates for children, vaccine passports, and lockdowns.
“Vaccines are up to the person. There’s nothing special about them compared to any other preventive measure,” he said just after being named to the position. “The state should be promoting good health, and vaccination isn’t the only path to that. It’s been treated almost like a religion. It’s just senseless. There are lots of good pathways to health.”
His alternative to the COVID-19 vaccine is that people should be encouraged to lose weight, exercise more, and eat healthier.
“After lockdowns, overall mortality increased. Lockdowns are bad. Lots of reasons why they’re bad, that’s just one really good one,” he said.
Over 804,000 children in Florida under the age of 16 have contracted COVID-19, according to Florida Department of Health data. Forty-two of those children died, while about 373,000 children ages five to 11 have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, equaling about 22% of the state’s age 5 to 11 population.
In mid-January, DeSantis opened five new (but useless) monoclonal antibody treatment sites across the state. The FDA revised authorizations for REGEN-COV, also known as Regeneron, the brand name for a combination of the drugs bamlanivimab and etesevimab, because it doesn’t work for omicron. Is the Florida governor thick?
Just last week, DeSantis strode out to the podium for a press conference at the University of South Florida and proceeded to bully seven high school students standing on stage wearing masks.
“You do not have to wear those masks,” the governor said in front of a slew of the press. “I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”
DeSantis is one to talk about “COVID theater,” as that’s all the pandemic has been for the governor, while his constituents died of the virus in record numbers.