A Miami Herald editorial has hit out at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ‘s new Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo over his COVID response.
In a highly critical editorial published on Monday, the Miami Herald said anti-maskers and conspiracy theorists had “found a new ally” in Dr. Ladapo.
The editorial board added: “New state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo represents the pompousness, the wackiness and the disregard for life and community that have become the hallmarks of Florida’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It also took aim at Dr. Lapado’s emergency rule last month that determined parents could decide if their asymptomatic child needed to quarantine if they were exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID.
The Miami Herald also accused Dr. Lapado of failing “to show simple good manners” when Democrat state senator Tina Polsky, who is battling breast cancer, asked him to wear a mask during their meeting earlier this month.
Dr. Lapado was not wearing a mask at the time and offered to speak with Polsky outside, Florida Politics reported.
Polsky replied: “I don’t want to go outside. I want you to sit in my office and talk to you.”
Dr. Lapado faced criticism from top state Republicans after he allegedly refused to wear a mask with Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson calling it “disappointing.”
In a memo sent to members of the state Senate, Simpson added: “It shouldn’t take a cancer diagnosis for people to respect each other’s level of comfort with social interactions during a pandemic.”
The Miami Herald also said Dr. Lapado “has proven he’s not worthy of the $512,000 per year he will earn” and mentioned the Surgeon General’s controversial endorsements as justification for the comment.
Dr. Lapado previously appeared in a COVID-19 conspiracy video that promoted hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the disease, despite studies not supporting the claim.
It also falsely said masks did not slow the spread of COVID and that the virus is less deadly than the flu.
Newsweek has contacted Dr. Ladapo for comment.
Republican Gov. DeSantis appointed Dr. Ladapo as Surgeon General in September praised his background.
In a September 21 statement, Gov. DeSantis said: “Dr. Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA with a superb background.
“He has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research. Dr. Ladapo will bring great leadership to the Department of Health.”
Following his appointment, Dr. Lapado said he wanted to pursue a public health policy that would maintain people’s freedoms.
He said: “We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear. From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by Governor DeSantis’s leadership and wellness while preserving their freedoms as Americans. It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida.”
While the Florida Senate must still confirm Dr. Ladapo’s appointment, the GOP-dominated chamber will likely approve Gov. DeSantis’s decision.
COVID cases have fallen in Florida to among some of the lowest in the country two months after the state had a record high surge.
According to the CDC COVID data tracker, most of Florida no longer has a high level of transmission with most counties being listed as substantial and several others now registered as moderate.
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