A fierce opponent of mask requirements and lockdowns, Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo only favours vaccination efforts if the injections are given voluntarily and refuses to mention if he has personally been vaccinated.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has, however, found an ally in the battle against what Dr. Ladapo refers to as “fear-based” regulations in his efforts to get Dr. Ladapo confirmed as the state’s next surgeon general by the State Senate.
In the case of Mr. DeSantis, a Republican governor whose outspoken opposition to conventional public health wisdom has fueled speculation about his presidential ambitions, the appointment of Dr. Ladapo signals the governor’s determination to continue fighting a pandemic that has already claimed 68,000 lives in Florida — this time, with what the governor can claim is a medical seal of approval.
Despite heavy opposition from Democrats, the Florida Senate approved Dr. Ladapo’s nomination on Wednesday by a vote of 24-15. All Republicans voted in favour, despite strong opposition from Democrats.
The DeSantis philosophy asserts that elderly individuals should be safeguarded from the virus, but that younger people who are less at danger should be free to pursue whatever they choose with their lives. Otherwise, the psychological and economic consequences might be too devastating, both for the people involved and for Florida’s reputation as a tourist and commercial destination across the world.
The Florida governor has established his political identity on his ability to battle, particularly against Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Vice President Biden’s top medical advisor on the Zika virus. Dr. Ladapo has aided Mr. DeSantis in establishing himself as a governor who is not fearful of living with the Zika virus.
Florida is among the 20 worst states for pandemic mortality rates and among the 12 worst for pandemic case rates, although Governor DeSantis has suggested that the state suffers as a result of restrictions on the state’s economy and educational opportunities.
Some of Dr. Ladapo’s beliefs, such as his resistance to lockdowns and mask-wearing in schools, have been considered conservative for some time and are now being embraced by liberal authorities as more people are becoming vaccinated and the number of cases is declining. However, at the time he was articulating these beliefs, they were rather uncommon among doctors in control of public health policy in the United States.
Doctor Ladapo’s transition from researcher to policymaker provided a ray of hope to like-minded academics who believed that their opposing opinions had been stifled by the mainstream scientific community.
Dr. Ladapo’s elevation solidified the notion of scientists who were outraged by Florida’s laissez-faire response to the virus. Dr. Ladapo’s ascent solidified the conviction of scientists who believed that public health had become entrenched in the nation’s divisive politics.
While acknowledging that vaccinations are very efficient at reducing illness and death, Dr. Ladapo said in October that “adverse responses” to vaccines should be given greater attention and advised individuals to “stay with their instincts and their sensitivities” when it comes to vaccination.
In addition, Dr. Ladapo’s unwillingness to dismiss more extreme ideas on viral therapies, such as those using the medications hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, was a source of consternation for his opponents. He joined Mr. DeSantis in calling for the federal government to provide certain monoclonal antibody therapies, despite the fact that they had been shown to be ineffective against the Omicron form, which accounted for the vast majority of caseloads at the time.
During the outbreak of the Omicron variety, he revised rules to prevent asymptomatic persons who were not at high risk from being tested – despite the fact that infected people may transmit the virus even if they do not show any symptoms. He claimed that testing was most beneficial for persons who could be in need of medical attention.
As well as refusing to wear a mask when he visited Democratic State Senator Tina Polsky, despite her request, he declined to do so since she was suffering from a severe health issue, which was subsequently found to be breast cancer. He said that he did not want to be disrespectful, yet he did not apologise.
As the number of reported cases in Florida continues to decline, Mr. DeSantis and Dr. Ladapo have reaffirmed their commitment to their respective approaches.
In support of withholding $200 million from administrators in 12 school districts that required masks, Mr. DeSantis has advocated for the withholding of funds. Some Republican legislators are attempting to prevent medical boards from revoking a doctor’s licence for distributing false information about the Covid vaccine.