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Governor Ron DeSantis has appointed Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD as the new Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

During the recent press conference when Gov DeSantis introduced him, Dr. Ladapo stated that his goal is for Florida to set an example for other states regarding public health by focusing on three important goals.

Dr. Ladapo said that first Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies in public health. “So we’re done with fear. That’s something unfortunately that’s been a centerpiece of health policy in the United States ever since the beginning of the pandemic and it’s over here. Expiration date. It’s done. Fear doesn’t lead to good decisions,” he said.

Second, Dr. Ladapo continued, “We’re going to make it very explicit about the difference between the science and our opinions. What’s been happening over the past year is that people have been taking the science and they’ve been misrepresenting it. They’ve been using the science, and it’s been unclear when the discussion about science ends and how you feel about the science and what you want people to do with the science begins. That’s never going to be something we will do here. You will know when we are talking about data, and you’ll know when we are talking about our opinions, our impressions, our preferences about the data. That will always be clear here.”

Then Dr. Ladapo continued, “Third, we are never going to lose sight that public health is not about a single item. It’s not about how many cases of COVID there are in a location. That is a part of public health but it’s not the only the thing. And as you know, that’s how public health has been treated over the past year and a half. So that’s over. That’s not going to happen here. We are going to be concerned about all aspects of public health that we think are important. And not just the flavor of the month.”

As part of his approach to handling the COVID issue, Dr. Ladapo recognizes there should not be school closures or lockdowns. In fact, Dr. Ladapo, who received his medical degree and a Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University, cites a recent but not highly publicized study from the National Bureau of Research. In this study, “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Policy Responses on Excess Mortality,” researchers found that after analyzing data from 44 countries and all 50 states, stay-at-home mandates greatly exacerbated the destruction of the working class and resulted in an increase of excess mortality. As a result, lockdowns cost more lives than they saved.

Regarding COVID shots, Dr. Ladapo said they should be a personal choice.

“Vaccines are up to the person. There’s nothing special about them compared to any other preventive measure,” he said. “The state should be promoting good health, and vaccination isn’t the only path to that. It’s been treated almost like a religion. It’s just senseless. There’s lots of good pathways to health,” he said.

Before coming to Florida, Dr. Ladapo was an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  He encourages people to protect their health by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and eating healthy food.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “It is encouraging that Florida Governor DeSantis has appointed a like-minded surgeon general and secretary of health who looks at science and facts and is not motivated by the fear mongering that we have experienced during COVID. Thanks to Governor DeSantis, Florida will continue to lead in protecting people’s freedom to choose how they manage their health.”

Author: Liberty Counsel