One Place, AB is Happy Not to be Living in or Near

The actions of the state leaders is a blight on the rest of the state.

Florida is swamped by disease outbreaks as quackery replaces science, The Guardian.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Guardian Summary: Shortly before Joseph Ladapo became Florida’s surgeon general in 2022, the New Yorker ran a short column welcoming the vaccine-skeptic doctor to his new role, and highlighting his advocacy for the use of leeches in public health.

It was satire of course, a teasing of the Harvard-educated physician for his unorthodox medical views, which include a steadfast belief that life-saving Covid shots are the work of the devil, and that opening a window is the preferred treatment for the inhalation of toxic fumes from gas stoves.

But now, with an entirely preventable outbreak of measles spreading across Florida, medical experts are questioning if quackery really has become official health policy in the nation’s third most-populous state.

As the highly contagious disease raged in a Broward county elementary school, Ladapo, a politically appointed acolyte of Florida’s far-right governor, Ron DeSantis, wrote to parents telling them it was perfectly fine for parents to continue to send in their unvaccinated children.

“The surgeon general is Ron DeSantis’s lapdog, and says whatever DeSantis wants him to say,” said Dr Robert Speth, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at south Florida’s Nova Southeastern University with more than four decades of research experience.

“His statements are more political than medical and that’s a horrible disservice to the citizens of Florida. He’s somebody whose job is to protect public health, and he’s doing the exact opposite.”

Ladapo’s advice deferring to parents or guardians a decision about school attendance directly contradicts the official recommendation of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which calls for a 21-day period of quarantine for anybody without a history of prior infection or immunization.

It is also in keeping with Ladapo’s previous maverick proclamations about vaccines that health professionals say pose an unacceptable danger to the health of Florida residents. They include official guidance to shun mRNA Covid-19 boosters based on easily disprovable conspiracy theories that the shots alter human DNA and can potentially cause cancer – “scientific nonsense” in the view of Dr Ashish Jha, a former White House Covid response coordinator.

Kareem Take:

This is not the first time I’ve discussed Ladapo (I refuse to refer to him as a Doctor because he doesn’t deserve it). Florida has become the post-apocalyptic wasteland of The Road Warrior with DeSantis as Humungus and Ladapo as The Toadie.

I’m not sure why he’s still Florida’s Surgeon General after all his unscientific proclamations that have threatened the health of Floridians. Last year, he was under investigation for falsifying a report about the COVID-19 vaccine to deter young men from receiving the vaccine. Again, he’s more interested in ingratiating himself with the corrupt DeSantis than protecting the lives of his community.

Now he’s willing to put the health of children at risk over a disease mostly wiped out thanks to vaccines. I would love for Ladapo to face a panel of immunology experts to defend his position, but that will never happen because he already knows the outcome.


Related: “Florida passes ‘cruel’ bill curbing water and shade protections for workers,”  The Guardian

SUMMARY: The Florida legislature passed a bill on Friday that prevents any city, county, or municipality in the state from adopting legislation aimed to protect outdoor workers from extreme heat, prompting many to call out lawmakers for being “cruel” to the “most vulnerable workers”.

Efforts to ensure potentially life-saving water breaks, rest and shade for construction and agriculture workers have failed largely due to industry pressure, a growing trend across south-western states, where heat related deaths are on the rise.

At present, there are no federal standards to protect outdoor workers in the US from heat and humidity – which can be deadly and is getting worse due to global heating. Protections therefore vary greatly from state to state.

The newly passed legislation will affect roughly 2 million outdoor workers across the state and render existing local protections “void and prohibited” from 1 July.

MY TAKE: At the end of Chinatown, private detective Jake (Jack Nicholson) is angry that a powerful and corrupt man will get away with incest and murder. His partner tries to calm him down with the reality of the situation by saying, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” I’m getting that same feeling about Florida. It’s like a depository for unfettered greed and corruption that grows like black mold. It is the swampy id of the country’s idealist superego.

This is the kind of greed and corruption that kills people (“‘Silent killer’: experts warn of record US deaths from extreme heat”). Heat-related deaths were up 95% from 2010 to 2022—and the heat is only getting worse: 2023 broke the record for warmest year.

So, what does Florida do to help protect its residents? It puts them in even more danger. Yes, I’m outraged by their callousness in putting profit over safety. Yes, I think it is pre-meditated murder if a worker dies as a result. But I know what you’re going to say,

“Forget it, Kareem. It’s Florida.”

What does Angry Bear think about Florida? Glad I do not live in Florida, whew . . .