PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Florida’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, made claims Thursday that masks didn’t save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and criticized doctors who recommended or mandated wearing masks.
Dr. Ladapo was speaking during a campaign-style event in Panama City with Governor Ron DeSantis and others when he made his claims.
“What did the two randomized clinical trials that we’ve done during the pandemic, what did they show? Ask them that when they tell you that these things save lives,” Ladapo said. “One found nothing, zero benefit. The other found a small benefit, like a tiny benefit that’s a little bit methodologically shaky. And by the way, none of them found a benefit in young people. Not a single one found a benefit in young people. That’s the highest-quality evidence, that’s what it showed.”
Ladapo went on to criticize the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for using what he called lower quality studies for its data. He then inferred doctors and other researchers who found the usefulness of masks must have “been taken over by zombies or something.”
His claim that studies have found no benefit from masks have been proven wrong in repeated studies including ones by:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A.
- Stanford University and Yale University
- University of Cincinnati/Cincinnati Children's Hospital
- British Medical Journal
- University of Central Florida
Surgeon General Ladapo didn’t endorse or mention vaccines when he then spoke of what saves lives during a pandemic.
“What saves lives, frankly, is freedom to speak, freedom to find truth, what saves lives is immunity, ya know?” Ladapo said. “Early treatment saves lives. And being as healthy as you can, losing the extra pounds, eating a nutritious diet, keeping your vitamin d levels up, those things save lives.”
Ladapo said about masks saving lives, “People need to unbelieve it.”
The press conference/rally was held to give a public push to a bill that would prevent doctors from being punished over “free speech.” Governor DeSantis introduced Dr. Jon Ward at the press conference who he said was the engine behind the movement.
Dr. Ward is a board-certified dermatologist and board-certified Mohs surgeon but has no experience in epidemiology or virology based on his bio from Dermatology Specialists.
Dr. Ward echoed much of what Ladapo said and said, “Your doctors are being silenced” before saying state certifying boards “have become political arms of the CDC and big Pharma.”
“Dr. Fauci, big Pharma, they orchestrated, with a compliant media, the takedown of any physician who didn’t echo the narrative that we needed to mask school children and we didn’t have to make vaccines mandatory,” Ward said as the reason for the bill being championed by DeSantis and Ladapo.
In a statement issued shortly after Ladapo's remarks at DeSantis' event, members of the Committee to Protect Health Care took aim at what they called "disinformation" from the surgeon general.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration continue to wage an unnecessary war on information that can save lives, and every Floridian should be deeply concerned about the governor’s refusal to protect health by applying evidence-based medicine. Again and again, Gov. DeSantis has been more concerned about politics than people’s health, from belittling vaccinations, persecuting schools that require masks, demeaning college students for wearing face masks during his press conference, and now by enabling disinformation. The goal of every physician should be to protect the lay public from life-threatening coronavirus infection by providing them with accurate, reliable information and encouraging everyone to do the same. No one should be rolling out the welcome mat for bad faith actors. Disinformation puts lives at risk, and as physicians, we urge policymakers, including Gov. DeSantis to hold those who endanger lives accountable. All physicians should obey the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm.”