Florida's New Surgeon General: "We're Done With Fear" As A Basis For Public Health Policy | Video | RealClearPolitics

Florida's New Surgeon General: "We're Done With Fear" As A Basis For Public Health Policy

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Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Dr. Joseph Ladapo as Florida's new Surgeon General on Monday.

Ladapo said that "Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies in public health" because "that’s something that’s been unfortunately a centerpiece of health policy in the United States ever since the beginning of the pandemic."

Transcript via The Alachua Chronicle:


FLORIDA SURGEON GENERAL JOSEPH LADAPO: There are a few things we’re going to keep in mind as we approach public health here.

The first is that Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies in public health. We’re done with fear. That’s something that’s been unfortunately a centerpiece of health policy in the United States ever since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s over here. Expiration date, it’s done.

We’re compassionate, we get it, there are scary things, we’ve seen a lot of fear from COVID over the past almost year and a half, and it’s very understandable. But the way to approach that is not from a place of fear because it doesn’t lead to good decisions. And we’ve seen a lot of that, where the risks and benefits of decisions haven’t been considered wholly or thoughtfully.

That’s over here. In terms of our approach… we’re going to acknowledge the fact that there are some things that are scary, but that’s not the place that we’re going to make decisions from. So we’re going to really think globally about the health policy decisions that we make in this state.

The second thing that I plan to be sure is very clear in our policymaking is that we’re going to… be very explicit about the differences between "the science" and our opinions. So we all have opinions, we all have a perspective, and we are absolutely entitled to those perspectives. What’s been happening over the past year is that people have been taking the science, and they’ve been misrepresenting it… It’s been unclear where the discussion about "the science" ends and discussion about how you feel about the science and what you want people to do with the science begins. That will never be a problem here… You’ll know when we’re talking about data, and you’ll know when we’re talking about our opinions, our impressions, our preferences about the data.

And the third thing is that we are going to never lose sight of the fact that public health is not one thing. 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. As all of you know, that’s how public health has been treated over the past year and a half. So, that’s over, it’s not going to happen here...

As a perfect example of how glaringly we’ve ignored what public health really means is how we’ve just brazenly pulled children, who need the structure of school and need the structure of a routine in their lives, out of school… It’s terrible to do it for all kids, but we’ve also done it for kids with disabilities, and people have hardly even batted an eye...

QUESTION: [inaudible]

LADAPO: [laughs]

Part of that fear that you’re talking about -- and did you say conspiracy theories?

Part of why that is an issue is because of the climate of distrust that has been engendered over the past year and a half, and that was the direct result of scientists -- my colleagues, some of them -- taking the science and basically misrepresenting it to fit their agendas, their interests, what they wanted to see people do...

I think vaccines, we’ll treat like any other preventive issue. The goal will be education, and this idea that people don’t get to make their own decisions on issues related to their own personal health is wrong, and it’s not something that we’re going to be about.
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