On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Dr. Joseph Ladapo will be the state’s new surgeon general and secretary of the state’s health department.
“Joe has had a remarkable academic and medical career,” DeSantis said at a news conference. “We feel that Joe is just the right guy for the job.”
But Ladapo quickly came under fire from critics for downplaying COVID-19 vaccines and for his association with the controversial group America’s Frontline Doctors, which has promoted bogus “cures.”
NEW: Florida’s new Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, was a strong proponent of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID.
He was in a viral video – now removed from social media – discussing his belief that the drug helps COVID patients.
Here’s a portion 👇 pic.twitter.com/xPzfMKmEud
— Jay O’Brien (@jayobtv) September 21, 2021
At a press conference announcing his new role, Ladapo said he is going to advocate for a “public health” approach to handling the pandemic and other concerns, and said he will “completely reject fear as a way of making policies.”
“We are going to have a positive approach,” he said.
Ladapo graduated from Harvard Medical School and also has a Ph. D. in health policy from Harvard. He is a health policy researcher and physician at the University of California-Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.
“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 thing,” he said. “That’s over. It’s not going to happen here.”
Florida has among the highest number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U. S. Over the past 28 days, there have been nearly 425,000 confirmed cases in the state, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 9,100 deaths. Florida’s COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a record high of over 16,000 in mid-August, according to the Florida Hospital Association, before declining to just under 8,500 this week, slightly below the peak number of hospitalizations in 2020.