Florida’s top doctor refuses mask, is told to leave meeting

MIAMI — (AP) — Florida’s top health official was asked to leave a meeting after refusing to wear a mask at the office of a state senator who told him she had a serious medical condition, officials have confirmed.

Florida Senate leader Wilton Simpson, a Republican, sent a memo to senators Saturday regarding the incident at the office of Democratic state Sen. Tina Polsky, asking visitors at the building to be respectful with social interactions.

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Polsky, who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, had not yet made public her breast cancer diagnosis.

Polsky told The Associated Press about the tense exchange with state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, which was first reported by the news site Florida Politics.

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She said Ladapo and two aides were offered masks and asked to wear them when they arrived for the Wednesday meeting.

She did not tell him she had breast cancer, but said she had a serious condition.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cancer patients are at a higher risk to get severely ill from COVID-19 and may not build the same immunity to vaccines.

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