If it’s starting to feel like it’s 2021 again, that’s because it’s starting to feel like it’s 2021 again, and I’m not just talking about Republicans getting blasted in special elections.
‘DeathSantis’ is riding again in the latest hand-wringing article from CBS News in which the Florida governor is described as “dangerous” and a spreader of “misinformation.”
As Americans consider whether to take advice from federal health officials and get an updated COVID vaccine, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is drumming the message that ignited his national political career: Ignore what the federal government tells you about COVID-19.
Given the federal government’s record of purposely misleading Americans regarding the virus, wouldn’t that be the prudent thing to do? After all, state-level health officials exist for a reason, and their existence doesn’t center on simply parroting whatever the current presidential administration says. Otherwise, why have them at all?
Instead, they advised those younger than 65 not to get vaccinated, suggesting without evidence that the shots could be harmful.
“I will not stand by and let the FDA and CDC use healthy Floridians as guinea pigs for new booster shots that have not been proven to be safe or effective,” said DeSantis, contradicting the FDA’s findings. “Once again, Florida is the first state in the nation to stand up and provide guidance based on truth, not Washington edicts.”
Yeah, that’s not how evidence works. It is the federal government’s responsibility to pursue rigorous trials in order to prove that a drug is safe. If someone says “You shouldn’t rush to take this until there’s more data,” that is not making a baseless statement. Calling it one is a demand to prove a negative, and you can’t prove a negative. We are talking about basic critical thinking skills.
Backing up DeSantis was the handpicked keeper of his public health strategy: his state’s surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo.
“My judgment is that it’s not a good decision for young people and for people who are not at high risk at this point in the pandemic,” Ladapo said.
Ladapo has come under fire from public health experts since DeSantis tapped him for the role. He has been rebuked by federal health officials for promoting misinformation about COVID and vaccines generally.
Alright, let’s accept that premise. If Lapado is wrong, then simply provide the data showing he is. Surely, the federal government has done its due diligence, right?
“They don’t know COVID,” Salmon said. “They’re cherry-picking facts to defend their position. And they don’t have the expertise to make those decisions for a large number of people.”
“It felt to me like they were trying to sow doubt,” he said, “and that’s dangerous.”
Again, this would be very easy to solve. Simply produce data that erases all doubt. Then you’ve got nothing to worry about as far as public perceptions go.
At the end of the day, DeSantis doesn’t have the luxury of sitting in an ivory tower and just hoping everything goes well. His state is his responsibility, and he’s made the decision to promote medical freedom. That’s not dangerous. That’s common sense. It’s also a principle that undergirds the American system of governance.