Another Viewpoint – Florida’s new surgeon general is not just reckless; he’s dangerous

Commentary

Please be aware, while this story focuses is about Florida, it’s really more than that. It’s about the sorry state of affairs in this country.

I’ve noticed that when I write about Florida-specific issues, I tend to get fewer views. As an example, my recent piece, “Rubio’s pandering knows no bounds,” (https://around-the-block.com/2021/09/15/rubios-pandering-knows-no-bounds/) received about one-half my typical readership. This, despite the fact that while the focus was on Florida’s senior senator, the issue, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley’s warning to China, that he would prevent an attack if ordered by an increasingly unstable Trump after January 6, should have been of interest to all Americans.

With that in mind, I’d like to share an Op-ed I submitted today to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in response to their damning editorial about Florida governor, Ron DeSantis’ appointment of a new state Surgeon General.

While I would imagine such “inside politics” would not generate much awareness from a state many of you think, in most respects, is crazy, I caution that kind of thinking – for those of you in Texas, Arizona, South Dakota, Missouri, Tennessee and almost any state run by a Republican governor, supported by a majority Republican legislature.

Even to my friends in California, who recently dodged a recall bullet – based on the results it appears that it was a blank – I say, relish your win, but don’t get too cocky: This can happen to you!

Another Viewpoint – Florida’s new surgeon general is not just reckless; he’s dangerous

I want to commend the Sun Sentinel Editorial Board for your excellent and necessary comments on Governor DeSantis’ selection of Dr. Joseph Ladapo as Florida’s new surgeon general. But, I wonder if you went far enough.

This appointment is an insult to most Floridians. Why? Because we now have a surgeon general who, according to news reports has, “written essays questioning the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, the effectiveness of masks and the favoring of hydroxychloroquine, a drug touted by former President Donald Trump to treat the virus.” It has also been reported that he “is a critic of lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates and other mitigation measures.”

But most Floridians, you ask? Yes, most Floridians.

According to an August Morning Consult, only 19% of Floridians are vaccine refusers. When people who are vaccine uncertain are included, the number moves up to 30%. This leaves the overwhelming majority of Floridians supporting the idea of Covid-19 vaccinations.

But why should DeSantis care? After all, his campaign continues to raise money through the sale of offensive anti-Fauci merchandise, targeting Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s foremost infectious disease specialist whom 68% of respondents in an Annenberg Public Policy survey believe provides trustworthy advice on the pandemic. DeSantis’ affront to one of our true national heroes includes such gems as t-shirts inscribed with “Don’t Fauci My Florida” and “Keep Florida Free,” and beer koozies with a DeSantis quote, “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?”

Ladapo, a cardiovascular specialist who is not a trained epidemiologist or virologist, said at a news conference following his appointment, “vaccines are up to the person” and that there is “nothing special about them compared to any other preventative measure.” What isn’t clear in that statement is whether Lapado was referring only to the Covid-19 vaccines or all vaccines, including those mandated by the Department of Health which he now heads: Diphtheria, IPV (Polio), Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), Varicella (chickenpox), Haemophilus influenzae type b, Pneumococcal conjugate and Hepatitis B. He also didn’t opine on whether, despite the current mandates, these other vaccines are also “up to the person.”

What is clear is that Ladapo’s point of view on fighting this pandemic comes down to his statement, “The state should be promoting good health, and vaccination isn’t the only path to that. It’s been treated almost like a religion and it’s senseless. We support measures for good health — vaccinations, losing weight, exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables, everything.”  

So, following the doctor’s advice, it seems that if we had only eaten our spinach we’d be, paraphrasing Popeye, “strong to the finich” and this pandemic might not have happened. Or maybe we should have been eating “an apple a day” in order to keep this doctor away.

One final note about our Governor.

It appears that DeSantis is trying to out-Trump his mentor by hiring, like Trump, “only the best people.” As I’m sure readers’ recall, Trump’s best people included Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Sebastian Gorka, Rick Gates…the list goes on. With this rogue’s gallery of miscreants, it must be extremely difficult for DeSantis to do better (worse?). It is clear to me, that in this case, the hire is worse, dangerously worse. The appointment of Dr. Ladapo as Surgeon General is not simply politically cynical on DeSantis’ part, it has the real potential of affecting the well-being and lives of the citizens this governor has sworn to protect.


(Ted Block is a retired advertising executive. He now resides in Delray Beach where, among other things, he publishes a commentary blog, “Around the Block.”

(Let me finish with this, to all my friends in California who believe there’s something in the water in the Sunshine State. The esteemed Dr. Ladapo comes from UCLA’s School of Medicine. Trump’s special Coronavirus advisor, the certifiable Dr. Scott Atlas – you remember him famously dismissing the value of face masks and social distancing, espousing that the pandemic could be controlled through “natural immunity” and blaming U.S. “media hysteria” for “worsening” the pandemic, that Scott Atlas – is from Stanford. Could it be that there’s something in the California water as well?)

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy.

6 thoughts on “Another Viewpoint – Florida’s new surgeon general is not just reckless; he’s dangerous

  1. What is the matter with the citizens of Florida? Are they too cowed not to verbally/write to editorials, etc. to object to a doctor who touts everything wrong that Trump said (and quietly back down on, and got both his vaccinations). Is there no way to “reach” this governor? When is his term over? If Fla. is so red, then some Republican has to have backbone and run against him.

    Actually the news is depressing – and the Giants race against the Dodgers doesn’t help!!!!

    Love to Sharon – and to you too Sue

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  2. I don’t want to get into a fight here, but there is nothing wrong with Floridians. We have shown up to the ballot box, voted to allow former felons to vote, and to allow medical marijuana. The REpublicans have stalled all of that in the Legislature. Many school districts have gone against DeSantis’ ban on masks in schools,even though the Governor is withholding funds. Hopefully, DeSantis’ strategy to put his reelection over the lives of the children of Florida will get people to vote him out. Plus, the Democratic party in Florida needs to find a strong democrat to run. That’s the problem.

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    1. I’m sorry you think I am saying there’s something wrong with Floridians. Any reference to that is really how my California friends look at the state, going way back to the “hanging chads” of 2000 when Florida was national laughing stock. Not sure that’s been overcome.

      In fact, my point is the same as yours: there’s nothing wrong with us except that we’re being screwed by our government, led by a cynical, political hack and backed by a legislature overrun with right-wing ideologues. (Did you read today about the bill that State Representative Webster Barnaby from Volusia County, wherever that is, to introduce a Texas-style abortion law in Florida.) I’d ask you to please re-read what I wrote: “This appointment is an insult to most Floridians.” “This leaves the overwhelming majority of Floridians supporting the idea of Covid-19 vaccinations.” “The esteemed Dr. Ladapo comes from UCLA…” “Scott Atlas – is from Stanford. Could it be that there’s something in the California water as well?)

      Florida does not deserve a cynical, pandering governor like DeSantis. Or Rubio (see the post before this one). Or Scott, although I haven’t gotten around to writing about him yet. But I agree, the problem is to get strong Dems to run — Christ or Fried for governor…are they strong enough? If not, is there anyone else? Val Demings vs. “liddle” Marco is more intriguing. But can she overcome the Cuban vote in Miami-Dade? Can she or any of the statewide Dems overcome the voter suppression moves that have and/or are coming? Loads of problems; I’m not sure the Democratic committees have the answers.

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  3. Hola
    1) Where does Florida find these people???
    2) When you say Dr. Lapado is from UCLA-how long and for what purpose was he there, and why was he forced (I hope) to leave???
    3) Actually, the statement that the pandemic can be controlled by natural immunity is correct. That is how the pandemic of 1918-20 was finally controlled. The virus runs out of susceptible people to kill. We could have followed Dr. Scott’s instructions, and the U.S. losses would have been in the millions instead of the 675,000 where it now stands. (Historical note: the pandemic a century ago also killed 675,000 Americans-but, of course, this one isn’t done.)

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    1. According to his bio, Dr. Ladapo went to Wake Forest University and received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in health policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He’s currently an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine where he cares for hospitalized patients. (I guess that means that despite all his fancy training, he’s really only a “hospitalist.”)

      So much for Harvard. From now on I’m only going to see Docs who graduated from the American Medical School of Barbados. Or Chicago. No, not the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine but the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.

      No elitist, I!

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  4. His disgraceful statements about a courageous general doing what was right would suggest that if Floridians had any sense, they wouldn’t send this obsequious panderer back to

    the operative words in the sentence above are “if Floridians had any sense,” I believe we already know, that except for a few new transplants, Floridians do not have any sense so we are in deep doodoo as far as getting Rubio out of the Senate or does he plan to run for President in the future?

    We take off tomorrow and are beginning to think about packing. I’ll send you some pictures from my iPhone because I doubt if Mickey will. 🤣

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