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Only in Florida…

Only in America’s diseased dong could the governor introduce a vaccine skeptic and anti-masker who rejects scientific consensus as the state’s new surgeon general.

On Tuesday, Ron DeSantisthe governor of people think stewing in their own sweat counts as a bathannounced Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a Nigerian-born, Harvard-trained UCLA researcher, as Florida’s lead medical expert whose main area of expertise appears to be acting as a DeSantis sock-puppet who will say all the loud and wrong things about mask and vaccine mandates the governor has repeated ad nauseam while leading the state that ranks third in the highest number of COVID-19 cases. (To be fair, California ranks first, but also, California officials aren’t threatening non-government businesses with hefty fines for requiring vaccination proof for customers and employees. And did I mention that Florida, for the past week, has been averaging 376 deaths and 9,112 new COVID cases daily?)

According to the Miami Herald, Lapado will replace pediatrician Dr. Scott Rivkees, whose last day in office was Monday, in overseeing the state’s Department of Health.

Lapado, who is Black—which only matters because scouring the sunken place for “look at my African-American over here” Black people who will say all the white people-friendly things has become a Republican superpower over the last decade or so—declared that under his leadership, “Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies.” 

“That’s been something that’s been, unfortunately, a centerpiece of health policies,” he continued.

Only in the warped conservative mind is asking people to do their part in ensuring the safety of everyone by masking up, social distancing and getting the damn shot akin to ruling through fear. And, again, this is coming from the same state and party that wants to fine businesses thousands of dollars, and fine government agencies millions of dollars for required vaccines—because, what better way is there to say “don’t live in fear” than to make threats that businesses and workers will bow to out of fear of losing revenue and income?

Anyway, according to the Herald, Lapado—who, last week, penned an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal claiming vaccines won’t stop the spread of COVID-19, because, apparently we should be taking his word over that of the vast majority of virologists and immunologists around the world—answered questions about whether people should fear the vaccine.

Without being anywhere near specific—because non-informative vagueness is the right-wing bread and butter—Lapado claimed that fear-driven health policies have resulted in a  “climate of mistrust.”

“That was a direct result of scientists, my colleagues, some of them, taking the science and basically misrepresenting it to fit their agendas,” Ladapo said. “This idea that people don’t get to make their own decisions on issues of health is wrong and it’s not something that we’re going to be about.”

“The state should be promoting good health, and vaccination isn’t the only path for that,” he continued. “It’s been treated almost like a religion, and that’s just senseless.”

Lapado went on to say the state should be promoting many health measures such as “vaccination, losing weight, exercising more [and] eating more fruits and vegetables.”

So, at least he’s not a complete anti-vaxxer, but is this man really pretending exercise and eating healthy are new ideas and that promoting them will do for the pandemic what vaccines won’t? Has DeSantis really tapped right-wing Dr. Sebi to be his state’s new surgeon general?

Florida, man. Will that state ever stop being the hottest of hot messes?