The saying goes that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. With that in mind, we turn our attention to Florida’s new Surgeon General, Joseph Ladapo.
He has been on the job for about a week, and let’s just say he announced his presence with authority — or, if you prefer, misuse of authority.
One day after Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him to the post as Florida’s top doc, Ladapo signed an emergency order allowing parents or legal guardians sole authority to send their kids to school even if they were exposed to COVID-19. Not only that, the parents can (paraphrasing here) tell the school to shove it when it comes to mandatory masks.
The number of virus cases in Florida is steadily declining. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, new cases last week were at a 67-day low. Deaths are down 53% in the last two weeks, according to a New York Times database.
So, it’s party time, right?
Yeah, it’s almost enough to take us back several months into this year when infections were falling. People were out and about, celebrating freedom from masks and deadly bugs.
However, the delta variant crashed the party. All those good vibes turned into more ambulance rides to the emergency room.
In early July, deaths in Florida from COVID-19 fell to an average of 21 per week, a testament to widespread vaccinations. However, cases began to skyrocket a month later as more people decided they no longer needed to be cautious.
And then BAM!
More than 6,600 Floridians died in August from the virus. That’s about 1,500 more deaths than in the same month a year ago.
Schools were opening all over the state, and most large districts defied DeSantis’ order outlawing mask mandates. It’s worth exploring whether that helped reduce infection rates since vaccines were not widely available for students 12 and over until recently.
But you know what that means, of course.
The Governor’s position seems to be that people shouldn’t have to do anything they don’t want to, even if that means spreading a deadly virus.
Macho trumps prudence in this administration.
“We’re done with fear,” Ladapo said at his introductory news conference. “That’s been something that unfortunately has been a centerpiece of health policy in the United States ever since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s over here. Expiration date. It’s done.”
Well, let’s just say the good doctor likes to think outside the box. I mean, waaaaaay outside the box. He stomps that box flat.
Last year, he appeared at a news conference in Washington with Stella Immanuel. She’s the Texas doctor/minister with some strange ideas. She theorized that some maladies might be caused by having sexual relations with demons or aliens.
Yeah, let’s go with that.
Ladapo wore a lab coat that day with a logo that read “America’s Frontline Doctors.” He spoke against “unintended consequences” of COVID-19 safety measures.
He also promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine, the not-cure touted by what’s his name in Mar-a-Lago.
Connecting the dots, are you?
Here we go. Containment measures seem to be working against this virus, and there is hope that it won’t be too long until people don’t need masks.
Right now, though, Ladapo’s order seems like another case of spiking the ball at the 10-yard line. The virus didn’t take kindly to that last time, and the next mutation — whatever it turns out to be — won’t either.