Florida Surgeon General To Kids: Drop Dead

Florida’s jacklegged surgeon general Joseph Ladapo declared Monday that the state’s Department of Health will recommend against coronavirus vaccination for “healthy children.” This obviously contradicts the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical experts, and even your cousin who watched every episode of “House.”

Ladapo announced his mad scheme at the end of a roundtable discussion on the COVID-19 response. He said that Florida “is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the COVID-19 vaccines for healthy children.” It’s like he’s proud of this shit.

He offered no explanation for his decision, nor did he specify what defines a “healthy child.” Most children are healthy until they contract COVID-19, measles, diphtheria, chicken pox, or any number of illnesses they are sensibly vaccinated against. Vaccines are preventive medicine. They aren’t Robitussin.

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From the Hill:

While COVID-19 is generally worse in older age groups, the CDC noted that as of mid-October 2021, there were “more than 8,300 COVID-19 related hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths from COVID-19" among children 5-11, and the coronavirus is one of the top 10 causes of death in that age group.

The CDC has stated that children are just as likely as adults to contract COVID-19 and get very sick from the virus. There are short and longterm health complications from infection. Even children with mild or asymptomatic cases can spread the virus to others at home and at school. Ladapo doesn’t even support universal mask wearing at school.

Last fall, when the COVID-19 vaccine was approved for children between the ages of 5 and 11, the American Academy of Pediatrics said: "Vaccinating children will protect children’s health and allow them to fully engage in all of the activities that are so important to their health and development.”

PREVIOUSLY: In Bold Move, Ron DeSantis Appoints Actual COVID Virus As Florida Surgeon General

Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had to waste her time responding to Ladapo’s political quackery.

PSAKI: Let me just note that we know the science. We know the data and what works and what the most effective steps are in protecting people of a range of ages from hospitalization and even death. The FDA and CDC have already weighed in on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines for those 5 and older.

Science is not the issue here, though. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has catered to the MAGA mob with a reflexive opposition to the CDC in general and Dr. Anthony Fauci specifically. Last month, when Ladapo was confirmed on a party-line vote of Republicans who are apparently ambivalent to public health, DeSantis released new masking guidelines that he crowed “bucks CDC policy” at the time. He said: "People want to live freely in Florida, without corporate masking creating a two-tier society and without overbearing isolation for children. We are empowering health care practitioners to follow science, not Fauci’s status quo.”

His complaint about a “two-tier society” is all such melodrama. Corporations still have dress codes. However, Mr. Free Market Republican thinks he can dictate the COVID-19 masking policy at private companies.

"Despite a lack of evidence that masks, and particularly cloth face coverings, prevent the transmission of COVID-19, many corporations have continued to require their employees to wear masks at work, regardless of the situation. Unlike CDC guidance, Florida’s new masking guidance advises against wearing facial coverings in a community setting. There is not strong evidence that masks reduce the transmission of respiratory illness.

"This guidance makes clear that all employees at a corporation should not be forced to wear a mask while at work. The guidance recognizes that there are millions of employees in Florida working in industries from hospitality to manufacturing to banking who for no reason whatsoever have been forced to wear a mask at work."

People who say masks don’t work should submit to surgery performed by unmasked medical staff.

Also, shut up, of course they do.

One thing is clear about DeSantis’s Florida: Despite all the rhetoric about “freedom” and “parental rights," DeSantis and his stooges seem to think there’s only one correct way for Floridians to live. It’s repulsive but not surprising that children are frequently the pawns in this political game.

[Herald Tribune / Tallahassee Democrat]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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