Florida’s Surgeon General appeared on the Fox News Channel again Wednesday, continuing his call to “unwind” testing for COVID-19.
Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the California transplant tapped for the Surgeon General job by Gov. Ron DeSantis last year, contended on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” that testing the asymptomatic was not necessarily a “high value” use of tests.
When pressed by MacCallum about asymptomatic people who may have been exposed and worried they are contagious to high-risk populations, Ladapo stood his ground, blaming federal leadership for a “specious” strategy of claiming the virus could ever have been stopped.
“Allow me to help unwind some of the beliefs that unfortunately our federal leadership has convinced so many Americans is true,” Ladapo argued. “The idea that stopping the spread of a virus is the objective of a public health campaign when probably somewhere around half or more have no symptoms at all, that’s completely specious. That should never have been something that the federal leadership convinced Americans is possible.”
The Surgeon General chided MacCallum, saying she wasn’t looking at the “right” scenario “considering what the objective is, which is to spend time with grandma and grandpa.”
Ladapo noted that “vaccines are available” for a person who “doesn’t have a history of natural immunity.” Still, he urged precautionary isolation for those who are “concerned” they may have COVID-19.
“If you are concerned you have symptoms, if you might be ill, it may not be the right time to spend with someone who’s vulnerable,” Ladapo advised, saying his was a “healthier, more sustainable approach” than that of the federal government, which is to “forever try to detect asymptomatic disease.”
“We need to focus on treating people who are ill, and focus on getting on with living, because we’re stuck in a rut with this sort of preoccupation with building our lives around COVID,” Ladapo contended.
Ladapo’s provocative comments come as the state plans to roll out a revamp of testing guidance.
With long lines at testing sites across the state and nationwide, revised testing guidelines will urge prioritizing high-risk individuals for tests. But there will be no restrictions on individual purchases of tests, the Governor said Wednesday.
“If you want to go into the drugstore and buy 15 tests for yourself to have, you’re free to do that,” DeSantis told reporters in Kissimmee.
The state’s guidance will come as cases surge in the state.
Federal data shows Florida recorded 51,644 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the state’s total number of infected in two years to nearly 4.4 million. In the week leading up to Sunday, Florida saw 8,563 hospitalizations related to the virus, ranking Florida seventh in new hospitalizations per capita.
Renzo Downey contributed reporting.