Enlarge / Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a information convention on the Florida Division of Well being workplace in Viera, Florida, on September 1, 2021.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduced Tuesday that the state’s new surgeon normal will likely be Joseph Ladapo, a UCLA researcher identified for opposing evidence-based masks mandates, vaccine mandates, and lockdowns.

As a substitute, Dr. Ladapo advocates for the controversial concept of embracing “the truth of viral unfold” to realize herd immunity.

“Florida will fully reject concern as a method of constructing insurance policies in public well being,” Ladapo mentioned in a press convention Tuesday after DeSantis introduced his appointment. Worry, he mentioned, has “been sadly a centerpiece of well being coverage in america ever because the starting of the pandemic and it is over right here. Expiration date: it is performed.”

Florida has been one of many hardest-hit states within the pandemic, notably amid the present wave pushed by the hypertransmissible delta coronavirus variant. In early August, the Sunshine State accounted for 20 {2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} of all COVID-19 instances occurring within the US. All through the wave—which is lastly receding in Florida—DeSantis has opposed vaccine mandates and fiercely fought masks mandates in colleges.

Ladapo seems to share his pondering. In a sequence of opinion items in The Wall Avenue Journal, Ladapo has argued in opposition to masks mandates and vaccine mandates and performed up fears concerning the security of COVID-19 vaccines, which have been discovered to be remarkably protected in addition to efficient. In the meantime, Ladapo has pointed to unproven and ineffective remedies, similar to ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, as remedies for COVID-19.

Within the press convention Tuesday, Ladapo declined to say that he would promote vaccines and downplayed their function in serving to convey an finish to the pandemic.

“The state needs to be selling good well being, and vaccination is not the one path to that,” Ladapo mentioned. “It has been handled virtually like a faith, and that is simply mindless. There’s plenty of good pathways to well being, and vaccination just isn’t the one one. So, we assist measures for good well being—that is vaccination, dropping pounds, it is exercising extra, it is consuming extra vegatables and fruits, the whole lot. We assist all of it.”

To be clear, whereas dropping pounds, exercising, and consuming vegatables and fruits are usually good for well being, they won’t stop SARS-CoV-2 an infection or transmission.

Worry and details

However stopping unfold of the pandemic coronavirus doesn’t look like a precedence for Ladapo. Within the press convention, he famous that he has signed the Nice Barrington Declaration, a controversial doc written final 12 months that promotes the thought of acquiring herd immunity by permitting the virus to unfold.

The doc has been roundly rebuked by main well being consultants and public well being businesses, together with the World Well being Group.

“It is scientifically and ethically problematic,” WHO Director-Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned of the doc on the time. Permitting the virus to run free “means permitting pointless infections, struggling, and loss of life,” he added.

So far, there have been greater than 42 million instances of COVID-19 within the US and greater than 676,000 folks have died. The COVID-19 pandemic is now the deadliest illness occasion in US historical past, exceeding the estimated 675,000 US deaths in the course of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

Along with being performed with concern, Ladapo additionally mentioned he was performed with misinformation. Over the previous 12 months, “folks have been taking the science, they usually’ve been misrepresenting it,” Ladapo mentioned. With DeSantis standing behind him, Ladapo vowed: “That can by no means be an issue right here.”

Simply final week, DeSantis quietly stood by at one other press convention whereas a Gainesville metropolis worker unfold misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, saying “the vaccine adjustments your RNA,” which is fake.

In taking the title of surgeon normal, Ladapo would be the high well being official in Florida and oversee the state’s well being division. Ladapo may even be leaving his place at UCLA, the place he targeted on cardiovascular ailments and the cost-effectiveness of diagnostics. He’ll take a brand new place on the College of Florida, he mentioned.

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