Florida’s new surgeon general: State will ‘completely reject fear’ on disease mitigation

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With Florida now coming down from its second COVID-19 surge, the state has a new surgeon general.

Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement on Tuesday, bringing to an end what had been a stressed relationship with the state’s former surgeon general.


Dr. Joseph Ladapo comes to Florida from California. He has been highly critical of lockdowns while at the same time advocating for less-proven treatments.

Ladapo is a physician with a background in health policy. His writings on COVID-19 last year and this year are much more in line with DeSantis, something that seemed to be an issue with the previous surgeon general.

At the state Capitol, DeSantis said Ladapo comes to Florida “with a really superb background.”

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Ladapo said the state will “completely reject fear” when it come to disease mitigation and that the health department will focus on drawing a fine line between science and opinion.

“What has been happening over the last year, people have been taking the science and they have been misrepresenting it, and it is unclear when the discussion on the science ends (and) how you feel about the science and what you want people to do with the science begins,” he said.

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He was also an early backer of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which both the FDA and national institutes of health cautioned against using to treat COVID-19.

Ladapo will also be a faculty member at the University of Florida. There, he will join the state’s former surgeon general, Scott Rivkees, who recently stepped down after being sidelined for much of the pandemic.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.