Florida’s Surgeon General Refuses To Wear a Mask While Visiting a State Senator Diagnosed With Cancer

Toby Hazlewood

Insensitive given the Governor's wife is also suffering the same disease?

Doctor with MaskShutterstock

Since being appointed as Florida's new Surgeon General, it's quite clear where Dr Joseph Ladapo's priorities sit. Since Governor DeSantis gave him the job - with a $362,000 salary that exceeds his predecessor's by $123,000 - he has gone to lengths to reinforce the Governor's stance on COVID-19.

During a visit to the office of State Senator Tina Polsky this week, Dr Ladapo and his aides refused a direct request from the Senator to wear masks during their meeting. Senator Polsky was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer in August of this year, and as an immune-compromised person is at greater risk from harm should she contract COVID-19.

After he refused the request, the Senator terminated the meeting and asked him to leave.

It seems particularly insensitive given that the Governor's wife has recently been diagnosed with the same illness.

Callous rather than caring (or considerate)

Dr Ladapo's refusal seems particularly callous and indifferent, even if he has been appointed by Governor DeSantis on the basis of sharing the Governor's indifference to COVID and his staunch refusal to take the vaccine or mask-wearing seriously. It is sadly consistent with his actions so far since taking the post.

He and the Governor recently announced a change to rules for parents and kids regarding COVID-19. It will now be up to parents to decide whether they quarantine their kids after exposure to the virus.

Surely this isn't the kind of leadership or guidance that residents of the state would expect - to basically be left to their own devices?

Questionable credentials?

While he's a qualified doctor of some renown, there are questions over Dr Ladapo's suitability for the role of Surgeon General at a time when the biggest health challenge facing the state and the US more generally, is COVID-19.

He isn't even a specialist in epidemiology, virology or public health - but rather a cardiovascular specialist. Such specialism seems particularly unhelpful given the effects that COVID-19 has had in the state. While the situation is improving at present, as at October 23 there have been 58,803 deaths from COVID-19 in Florida - a figure that has exceeded the US death toll of the entire Vietnam War - 58,220 died during that conflict.

Last summer, before his appointment, he also appeared on the steps of the US Supreme Court as part of the controversial group 'America's Frontline Doctors' with a number of other controversial medical professionals, promoting zinc and hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 treatments and undermining the vaccine and masks as preventatives for the spread of the virus.

He promotes the DeSantis agenda

It seems clear that Dr Ladapo has been appointed since his views fit with those held by Gov. DeSantis, particularly in the run up to the Governor's reelection campaign.

What should be worrying for Floridians is that he seems perfectly happy to embody policies that don't actually promote or respect health of the people he's been appointed to protect - up to and including refusing to wear a mask around a State Senator who has cancer.

What do you think about the Surgeon General's actions and his appointment in the state? Do you feel like he and the Governor have Florida's best interests at heart? Let me know in the comments section below.

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