Florida Surgeon General: Omicron will wake people to feds’ pandemic failures
Image via Colin Hackley.

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As a political newcomer, the doctor says he is entertained by the spin on federal pandemic policies.

If there’s one blessing from the omicron variant, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo says it’s that people will hopefully realize the federal government’s shortcomings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ladapo, appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in September, has been a vocal critic of strict public health measures intended to fight the pandemic, including masking and vaccination requirements. He has also stressed the use of COVID-19 treatments.

On Monday, the pair announced the federal government had reversed its decision to cut its supply of monoclonal antibody therapies to states when early signs showed the treatments were less effective against the omicron variant. Speaking at a news conference in Jacksonville — delayed because of protesters and at least one arrest — Ladapo on Tuesday was thankful for the reversal, but called it part of a pattern of “complete failure” at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Hopefully more people are waking up to that, and that might be a blessing of omicron,” Ladapo said.

The pattern, he continued, reflects what he claimed is an absence of clinical leadership at the agency.

With a little more than three months into his time as Surgeon General, Ladapo said he is “entertained” by the narratives of pro-vaccination and pro-masking politics.

“As someone who spent their time — has spent his career in science and medicine and is a practicing clinician, I’m new to politics, and I am just extremely entertained by the spin that we’re seeing here,” Ladapo said.

With the rise of the omicron variant and an increased number of breakthrough cases, the Surgeon General sees the goalposts shifting. Initially, people got the vaccine to stop the spread of the virus. Now, he continued, vaccinated are thankful their COVID-19 symptoms are mild when they do get infected.

“I’m happy for everyone who feels like that, but that’s not a justification for forcing other people to accept the vaccine,” Ladapo said.

While the omicron variant is more contagious than previous virus strains, it is less virulent, he said.

Cases are up more than 200% over the last seven days. Hospitalizations are up 242%.

On Sunday, the most recent day for which data is available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 39,797 new COVID-19 cases in Florida, increasing the total number of infections to 4.3 million. In the seven days leading up to that day, the state added 362,618 new cases. In that time, 21 people died in Florida due to COVID-19.

Also on Monday, DeSantis and Ladapo unveiled their intent to prioritize COVID-19 testing for individuals at a greater risk for severe infections. Testing generally healthy individuals could even lead to worse clinical outcomes for others, Ladapo asserted, particularly at a time when testing demand is high.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


6 comments

  • Sister Cane Cane, Saint Cuthbert Academy

    January 4, 2022 at 2:18 pm

    Hmmm, so many Foridians dying and here we have a surgeon general who’s “a vocal critic of strict public health measures intended to fight the pandemic.” I am so happy that Doctor Ladapo is new to politics, as he says, because if he were an old hand he’d be up to his ears in duck poop by now instead of just up to his waist! Quack quack!

  • PeterH

    January 4, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    It appears that DeSantis has found the droid he’s been looking for …….

    Statement attributed to the Florida surgeon general from this article:

    “As someone who spent their time — has spent his career in science and medicine and is a practicing clinician, I’m new to politics, and I am just extremely entertained by the spin that we’re seeing here,”

    Ladapo understands that his job is not to be concerned with the health and well-being of Florida’s residents but to advance the failed narrative of the worst response Covid governor in the USA. As he clearly states …. his job is POLITICAL…..

    Hopefully Ladapo can continue licking DeSantis’s boots for months to come! The Tallahassee clown show is endless!

  • Alex

    January 4, 2022 at 5:55 pm

    This idiot was part of a group of Doctors who made a covid information video that was immediately taken down by several social media sites for misinformation.

    He claimed he was caring for covid patients, and when asked for details, he suddenly changed his story.

    So, he’s a freakshow, and that meant DeFraudis HAD to have him for Surgeon General.

    smh

  • Alex

    January 4, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Lapado was part of a group in California who’s video got taken down for covid misinformation, and when he was asked to give details of his care for covid patients (which he claimed), he suddenly changed his story.

    So naturally DeUseless had to make him Florida’s Surgeon General.

    It’s a circus of kooks.

    • ScienceBLVR

      January 4, 2022 at 8:33 pm

      You are right, Alex.And as they say, elect a clown, expect a circus…and DeSantis sure fits the clown mold. Couldn’t he at least have gotten a medical professional who can do more than rant about the government’s shortcomings. How about some public health leadership? Maybe we can just blame AOC! That bitch..she probably made up this whole Covid thing

  • David E Bruderly

    January 5, 2022 at 1:29 am

    Omicron has a lower hospitalization & death rate than previous variants but total victims will remain unacceptably high because too many people are unvaccinated.

Comments are closed.


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