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Gov. Ron DeSantis further embraces the Great Barrington Declaration by appointing Dr. Joseph Ladapo as Florida Surgeon General

Yesterday, Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Dr. Joseph Ladapo, an apostle of the Great Barrington Declaration’s eugenics lite “focused protection” approach to COVID-19, as Florida Surgeon General. If you want to see the harm caused by the GBD and crank “COVID contrarian” physicians, look no further.

I’ve written several times about the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD), a statement released by three COVID-19-minimizing scientists, Dr. Sunetra Gupta (University of Oxford), Dr. Martin Kulldorff (Harvard University) and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford University). Named after the Massachusetts town where the American Institute of Economic Research (AIER, the libertarian “free market” think tank that birthed the declaration) is based, the Great Barrington Declaration, which, it should be noted, was published two months before any COVID-19 vaccines received emergency use authorizations (EUAs) from the FDA, advocated basically letting COVID-19 rip through the “healthy population” to achieve “natural herd immunity” while using “focused protection” to keep those at high risk of severe disease and death from the virus (e.g., the elderly and those with chronic health conditions that put them at high risk) safe from COVID-19. Unfortunately, what was meant by “focused protection” was never really defined, and the GBD totally ignored the impossibility of “focused protection” of those at high risk from an infectious disease that was spreading unchecked through the rest of the population. As I said at the time, the entire idea struck me as not-so-thinly disguised eugenics that would let the “unhealthy” suffer and die in the name of getting the business of business rolling again, while the AIER’s likening GBD adherents to abolitionists was risible in the extreme. All of this is simply a lead-up, however, to a story from yesterday, in which Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Dr. Joseph Ladapo would be Florida’s new Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health:

I intentionally included that reply because, unsurprisingly, it turns out that Dr. Ladapo is an antimasker and signatory of the GBD:

That is, of course, a common talking point among antimaskers, those opposing “lockdowns” of even the most mild variety, and in general other science-based interventions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and thereby mitigate its damage to public health and save lives. Unfortunately, it’s a message that seems to resonate, as it portrays those opposed to public health interventions as “courageous,” as opposed to those advocating for a more science-based approach, who are portrayed as cowering in irrational fear of the virus rather than wanting to rationally devise a strategy that slows the spread of the virus and prevents as many people as possible from becoming critically ill and dying while minimizing social and economic disruption as much as feasible. Of course, one can’t help but note the hypocrisy, given how often antimaskers, antivaxxers, and those opposed to other public health interventions love to try to spread fear of their own. It’s just fear of things other than the virus, mainly bogus fears of adverse health effects of masks and, of course, “tyranny” from public health officials.

Worse, in addition to parroting antimask tropes about public health interventions to combat COVID-19, Dr. Ladapo appears to be flirting with “soft” antivaccinationism:

Whenever you hear someone compare vaccination to a religion, you’re hearing an antivaccine message, whether the one making the comparison realizes it or not. One might wonder whether Dr. Ladapo does realize that he is promoting an antivaccine message or not (I suspect that he knows exactly what he is doing by parroting that message, just as Gov. DeSantis does), but he is. Antivaxxers love to harp on the false notion that vaccine advocates are irrational zealots and bullies regarding vaccination—and, of course, cowering in fear of disease—and that “belief” in vaccination is more akin to religion (and that vaccine advocates also engage in “vaccine exceptionalism“) than anything else.

The other part of Dr. Ladapo’s statement, in which he says that the “state should be promoting good health” and that “vaccination isn’t the only path for that,” is a message right out of the quack playbook that echoes what I like to call the central dogma of alternative medicine. That dogma is basically The Secret: Wishing for healing heals. Alternatively, it can be stated somewhat more accurately as: You attract health to yourself. Note that this is just like The Secret, only for health. The central dogma of many, if not most (if not all) alternative medical systems seems to be that, if you wish for healing hard enough, your mind/spirit/energy can heal you of almost anything, just as, according to the Law of Attraction from The Secret, you “attract” things to you from the universe according to your thoughts, intents, and desires.

What Dr. Ladapo is saying is, at its core, very similar to what quacks say about COVID-19 in order to minimize the severity and effect of the disease and attack public health interventions, including vaccines, as strategies to combat it, namely that if you make yourself “healthy enough” you will be less likely to get really sick from the virus or even die. Of course, it is trivially true and has been known since early in the pandemic that those with chronic health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic lung disease, are more likely to land in an ICU or even die if they contracts COVID-19, but is the converse true? If you, for instance, lose a lot of weight, exercise, and improve your diet, will it make you less likely to die of COVID-19. That’s what Dr. Ladapo was clearly implying, if not outright arguing, yesterday when you put him in context:

In the press conference Tuesday, Ladapo declined to say that he would promote vaccines and downplayed their role in helping bring an end to the pandemic.

“The state should be promoting good health, and vaccination isn’t the only path to that,” Ladapo said. “It’s been treated almost like a religion, and that’s just senseless. There’s a lot of good pathways to health, and vaccination is not the only one. So, we support measures for good health—that’s vaccination, losing weight, it’s exercising more, it’s eating more fruits and vegetables, everything. We support it all.”

To be clear, while losing weight, exercising, and eating fruits and vegetables are generally good for health, they will not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection or transmission.

I left that last paragraph in the quote intentionally, because it’s spot on correct. To it I would also add that it’s not at all clear that adopting a healthy lifestyle will dramatically lower your risk of dying from COVID-19, but let’s for the moment consider the possibility that it might. Arguing that we should not be prioritizing vaccination as much as we do and instead should be increasing emphasis on lifestyle changes that lead to better health is folly in the middle of a pandemic. Why do I say that? Because, in the middle of a pandemic, lifestyle changes, even if they do work as Dr. Ladapo implies, take too much time.

Let me briefly recount again a personal anecdote. Last year I finished losing over 50 lbs through a combination of fanatical calorie counting coupled with increasing exercise, primarily riding my bicycle. The effects on my health were definitely salutary. My blood pressure improved markedly, allowing me to drastically reduce the dose of anti-hypertensive medicine that I had been taking, and I might even be able to get off of medications altogether. I can now ride over 25 miles (and do so a couple of times a week). My resting heart rate, once in the 80s, is now in the 60s. My cholesterol and lipid levels have declined into the normal range. Let’s imagine, though, that the pandemic had hit three years ago, when I was obese and my weight was trending steadily upward. Even if losing 50 lbs would have decreased my risk of death from COVID-19, lifestyle interventions are too damned slow in the middle of a pandemic, even for an individual. Moreover, if lifestyle interventions are too slow for an individual, at a population level they are even slower and more unreliable, given how difficult it is to get people to change their habits to improve their health.

I often like to observe that I don’t know what clicked in my head three or four years ago that finally got me off of my ever-expanding posterior to do something about my weight and cardiovascular fitness, but I’m glad it did. I now weigh only a little more than what I weighed 30 years ago. I also realize that I’m incredibly privileged. I have money to afford healthy food and time to invest in a physical fitness regimen. Not everyone can pull this off. Worse, this shifting emphasis to “other ways” of promoting health risks turning into victim shaming and blaming of the sort that antivax activist Del Bigtree engaged in when he blamed those at high risk of COVID-19 for having made themselves vulnerable to severe disease through their prior lifestyle choices and urged his followers to “catch that cold” in order to achieve “natural herd immunity.” And what about the elderly? It’s not as though you have any control at all over how old you were when the pandemic hit.

Whenever I see someone like Dr. Ladapo advocate “other measures” to improve health, I can’t help but wonder: What does he mean by that? After all, there’s a lot that the government could do to decrease obesity and chronic health conditions, even if it will take years. Florida could implement laws and policies that discourage the consumption of, for instance, large quantities of sugary drinks, such as taxes and limits on portion sizes sold. It could institute measures to discourage alcohol and tobacco use. It could pump money into free programs to assure that the poor living in “food deserts” have access to healthy food at an affordable price, instead of having to purchase cheap, calorie- and fat-dense food. Somehow, though, I doubt that Dr. Ladapo will advocate for such measures once he takes charge of Florida’s public health apparatus. (Just a hunch.)

Who is Dr. Ladapo, anyway? When I learned of his appointment, I didn’t remember ever having encountered him or written about him; so I searched my blogs and my Twitter feed. There was only one mention of him. I was very surprised, because the more I did Google searches for him, the more I saw Dr. Ladapo as someone very much deserving of much more not-so-Respectful Insolence than he had received in the brief mention of him on this blog. Indeed, I hadn’t even known that Dr. Ladapo had signed the GBD or that he was a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal opinion page, his most recent contribution being from last week and entitled Vaccine Mandates Can’t Stop Covid’s Spread. Common COVID-19 contrarian talking points dominate Dr. Ladapo’s editorials in the WSJ and elsewhere, such as claims that we are “overreacting” to the virus; COVID-19 vaccines are “riskier than advertised“; masks have been “oversold“; it was “too late“—in March 2020!—for lockdowns to save us; and “universal vaccination” is unrealistic and dangerous.

I also found out that Dr. Ladapo is—surprise! surprise!—a member of “America’s Frontline Doctors”:

Dr. Joseph Ladapo: An associate professor of medicine and clinical researcher at University of California – Los Angeles (who states explicitly during the press conference that he is speaking for himself “and not for UCLA”), Ladapo has become an ardent proponent for the “open the economy back up” school of thought. At the start of the pandemic, he penned an op-ed for USA Todaydownplaying the lethality of the virus and advocating for the economy to stay open in lieu of lengthy shutdowns: “Can you imagine a United States in which children are forced to forgo proper schooling, unemployment and poverty decimate millions more lives, and our economy is strangled into a persistent depression? And all for a virus that, when all is said and done, most people will recover from — even the elderly,” he wrote. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, he accused Democratic political leaders of politicizing the response to COVID-19 in order to further their own agenda, accusing them of invoking “‘science’ to justify decisions manifestly guided by their personal preferences.”

That last bit strikes me as projection of the most obvious sort.

Does anyone remember America’s Frontline Doctors, though? During the first summer of the pandemic, they were pushing the unproven (and now disproven) drug hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 cure. A year later, they were suing over “deaths from COVID-19 vaccines.” These days, they’re pushing ivermectin, as is Dr. Ladapo. Indeed, Dr. Ladapo even appeared in that infamous video from July 2020 in which America’s Frontline Doctors promoted hydroxychloroquine as they rejected other public health interventions:

Joseph Ladapo—the doctor appointed on Tuesday as Florida’s new surgeon general by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis—once appeared in a COVID-19 conspiracy video featuring Dr. Stella Immanuel. Immanuel, a pediatrician and religious minister, gained notoriety in 2020 for her bizarre theories, including that “demonic seed” causes endometriosis and ovarian cysts.

In July 2020, Ladapo appeared in a 43-minute viral video as part of a group called America’s Frontline Doctors. None of the doctors in the video were epidemiologists or immunologists best qualified to speak on infectious diseases, Rolling Stone reported at the time. The doctors’ recorded speech was organized by the Tea Party Patriots, a right-wing group backed by wealthy Republican donors.

The video promoted hydroxychloroquine as a “cure” for COVID-19, even though studies haven’t substantiated that claim. The video also said that masks do not slow the virus’ spread and that COVID-19 is less deadly than the flu. Both claims are untrue.

In fairness, though, I haven’t been able to find out much else about Dr. Ladapo’s connection to American’s Frontline Doctors (none of whom were ever really “frontline” and most of whom are COVID-19 grifters), at least not recently; so it’s possible that Dr. Ladapo realized that being associated with the “demon sperm” doc wasn’t a good look for him and disassociated himself from this group of cranks. Any mention of him does appear to have been removed from the group’s website. Fortunately, the almighty Wayback Machine at Archive.org shows him in the physician leadership of America’s Frontline Doctors as “policy liaison” in July 2020:

Joseph Lapado, MD, busted
Dr. Ladapo can run, but he can’t hide, from the almighty Wayback Machine.

None of that stopped Dr. Ladapo from opining at his press conference yesterday:

In addition to being done with fear, Ladapo also said he was done with misinformation. Over the past year, “people have been taking the science, and they’ve been misrepresenting it,” Ladapo said. With DeSantis standing behind him, Ladapo vowed: “That will never be a problem here.”

There is only one appropriate reaction to that statement.

Godzilla facepalm

The appointment of Dr. Ladapo by Gov. DeSantis to take over the State of Florida’s entire medical and public health bureaucracy represents a dangerous new step in the evolution of the government response to COVID-19. I can only hope that the Florida Senate fails to confirm him, but I am not optimistic that this will happen because, on paper at least, Dr. Ladapo appears qualified.

That’s the danger of doctors like Dr. Ladapo, the three academics behind the GBD, and all the other “respectable” doctors promoting COVID-19 misinformation. By embracing bad science and COVID-19 contrarianism, they serve as either willing accomplices or useful idiots used by ideologues like Gov. DeSantis, who appears far more interested in the economy than in preventing his constituents from suffering and dying in droves. Dr. Ladapo, the main signatories of the GBD, and others doctors and academics like them, serve the same role as tobacco scientists did a half century ago in that they provide a patina of seeming scientific rational for ideology-based policies rooted in bad science and are thus essential tools of the disinformation machine promoting resistance to public health interventions.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

54 replies on “Gov. Ron DeSantis further embraces the Great Barrington Declaration by appointing Dr. Joseph Ladapo as Florida Surgeon General”

I can only hope that the Florida Senate fails to confirm him, but I am not optimistic that this will happen because, on paper at least, Dr. Ladapo appears qualified.

“Not optimistic” is an understatement. I’m more curious about what he did that warranted a full professorship at U.F. Medical School from associate at UCLA. Pubmed suggests that he was laboring to be a cardiologist before that, but for kind of a long time.

“getting the business of business rolling again”

I am unclear on how the government’s strategy is helpful to business considering that a substantial fraction of Florida’s economy is tourism, and overflowing ICUs and disease stalking the streets are discouraging to many tourists. I find it discouraging, but then I have no plan to visit the US, including Florida, in the foreseeable future.

Perhaps the Great Seal of the state of Florida can be trained to jump through hoops for the entertainment of the residents. Would-be tourists can watch the performance on YT rather than in person.

Cruise lines are threatening to leave Florida altogether since they’ve actually mandated against vaccines. No one wants to go on a cruise with the unvaccinated.

So true. A large floating Petri dish. I had heard that either the CDC or FDA recommended that people over 60, whether vaccinated or not, should avoid cruises. That’s their prime customer base.

Cruise lines are threatening to leave Florida altogether since they’ve actually mandated against vaccines.

Norwegian actually won in the Southern District of Florida, so the mask mandates are back. DeSantis had tried to change venue to the Middle District, where Steven Merryday had previously given him a 124-page hummer and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals just up and changed its mind without legal provocation, but tough beans further south.

DeSantis is naturally eager to get back in front of the 11th Circuit, which he has found to be nice and comfy.

Sailings out of Galveston seem to have a lot of restrictions on unvaccinated passengers. I don’t know what their usual ports of call are; in the Caribbean, they can apparently afford to turn away ships. The Gulf may be more forgiving.

@ Narad:

I wonder about the future of the cruise industry during and after the pandemic. I’ve followed because my SO’s relative was absolutely thrilled about making a killing by buying Carnival Cruise stock early on ( if you look at its price history charts, you’ll see that it fell precipitously in early 2020 ) thinking that it would bounce right back BUT IT DIDN’T! Probably, he fell into that bro reddit culture, ” Buy a stock that doubles and invest the money in another that doubles until you get rich!”. Right.

Recently, I read that either the FDA or CDC recommended that people over 60 – even if vaccinated – should not go on cruises when the industry is geared towards older travellers, not millennials / younger customers, who will become a greater factor as time goes on. Carnival Cruise Line has massive debt. International rules may change. I wouldn’t invest anything and notice that my high flying mutual fund hasn’t either.
So De Santis will no be able to affect the long term outcome, maybe only stop the bleeding a little whilst he’s in office.

Whoops:

Ladapo said he signed the declaration, although “there were a couple of things I didn’t agree with.”

I guess that takes care of that.

Orac said “.. given how difficult it is to get people to change their habits to improve their health.”

Alties and woo-meisters who promote extreme lifestyle changes must know ( at least on some level) that their regimens are doomed to failure most of the time. If they promise that your general health and medical outcomes are dependent almost exclusively upon what you eat or do, they must also know that backsliders will predominate amongst their followers and provide a ready and inexhaustible source of customers for their how-to guide books, “instructive” films and super foods/ supplements. In addition, they can scold and lecture adherents who fail to be excessively trim and/ or get sick. Like the vaccines-cause-autism advocates, they constantly minimise the effects of genetics on outcomes and stress instead lifestyle changes for ALL conditions, including Secret-like admonitions about good thoughts’ effect on illness and health.

As I’ve written recently, followers style themselves as bold rebels against medical authoritarianism (and reality) raising their self-esteem: they know better than experts, feel to be in control and superior to most mortals. Similarly, leaders themselves respond to their own failures to be accepted by standard universities/ careers in relevant disciplines by attacking experts, setting up their own criteria and modelling rejection of SBM for their followers. Those I read/ hear most have NO credentials in life science. NONE whatsoever. Yet they rag on interminably about it.

On a personal note: I’ve never had problems with weight: when my friends starved themselves, exercised excessively or tried trendy diets, pills or supplements, I didn’t have to. I’ve been thin or slightly less than average always. My father and my grandparents were all quite average but my mother was heavy and struggled all of her life, especially because she worked in fashion, so I suppose woo-meisters would blame her for her health problems.
What Orac did was extremely difficult and he should be congratulated. And alties say SBM people don’t believe in life style effects!

Just came across something on line that I wanted to get on the radar of Orac and the folks here. Apologies for it being off topic from the latest post.

Corona Ausschuss has interviewed Dr. Peter Breggin, MD, an opponent of electroshock therapy and psychiatric drugs who wrote “Talking Back to Prozac.” Why is he being interviewed on CA? He and his wife have just written a new book coming out Sept 30th titled:

“Covid-19 and the Global Predators: We Are the Prey.” I have not watched the interview as I know it will piss me off too much. The title pisses me off. Could they have possibly come up with anything more inflammatory?

As crazy as the CT anti vaxxers are now, they may get a whole lot worse after they get lathered up by this book. Of course the fact Breggin is a psychiatrist, hardly a specialty well trained in epidemiology, vaccines, etc, matters not to the fans of Peter McCullough and the other usual suspects. McCullough apparently wrote an intro to the book, and RFK Jr has endorsed it.

Wish I knew what it would take to break the trance of the people believing these cons, quacks and loonies.

Unfortunately, Breggin has a weekly internet radio show on the ( cesspit of a sinkhole) Progressive Radio Network ( see website PRN.fm). In the archives, most of the shows listed in recent weeks deal with Covid. I’m not sure how large his audience is.

Thanks for the info; checked out their website. I’d not stumbled across them before, which is interesting as I consider myself a progressive, but one deeply disappointed to see so many become anti-science.

I get that people are angry with the for profit health care system in this country; I am also. I envy the Scandinavian countries their functioning social democracies and wonder why we can’t even get national health care here. But seeing the flaws in our system should not mean throwing out the good that is still accomplished. Vaccines are a part of that good.

You know, back in the early days of covid, there was much on line chatter about hospitals trying to rack up covid diagnosis and patients on ventilators to get additional money. Believe it was $39,000 for the latter. After seeing so many photos and video from ICUs with patients surround by six or more staff and more tubes and machines than I can identify, the $39,000 sounds like a lowball sum.

@ Mary:

Progressive is rather loosely used- perhaps to attract liberals- but the CEO’s position is more libertarian and at times, downright old fashioned conservative, leaning towards traditional values and anti-modernity. Anti-psychiatry, hiv/aids denialism, anti-vax and anti-SBM stances prevail amongst the shows’ presenters.

Many of the other alties I survey have switched over to Covid denialism or minimalism, alligning themselves with non-progressive politicians as Orac has illustrated many times. It’s rather disheartening to hear people who formerly identified as liberals to spout such nonsense and enable right wing activists.

““The state should be promoting good health…”

It’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking anything when I read this. The last thing those people do is make it easy to live a healthier life. You need to work 3 jobs to make ends meet, oh well too bad. We’re cutting your benefits. You’re kid’s school is falling down because you live on the “wrong” side of town, oh well too bad.

Not only do they fail to promote good health, they fail to promote good thinking. Not sure when teaching critical thinking fell out of favor in schools, but appears it has done so.

Lately I’ve been wondering which is worse: covid 19 or mind viruses. This morning, leaning toward the latter. If we can coax people out of their CT rabbit holes, they will naturally take actions that would protect the health of themselves and others, greatly reducing the infection rate and deaths from this crap. Unfortunately, not only are they down the rabbit hole, they’ve bunkered in. A bit like the underground dwelling residents of District 13 in The Hunger Games.

Not sure how one can get these people back up into fresh air and sunlight.

Of course they don’t teach critical thinking. If they did, people wouldn’t have elected someone like DeSantis.

Making sure that people don’t think about the potential consequences of their policies is part of the electoral strategy.

I read that and then I thought about the subset of people who completely freaked out over the new school meal requirements during the Obama administration (ketchup is not a vegetable) and the vegetable garden at the White House and I thought to myself “is internal consistency too much to ask?”

Probably.

But it was the market in Wuhan that started the virus………… But at this point what difference does it make. So let’s all worry about who’s the head of a state’s health department.

“Wuhan scientists planned to release coronavirus particles into cave bats, leaked papers reveal”

“Wuhan and US scientists were planning to release enhanced airborne coronavirus particles into Chinese bat populations to inoculate them against diseases that could jump to humans, leaked grant proposals dating from 2018 show….”

telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/09/21/wuhan-scientists-planned-releaseskin-penetrating-nanoparticles/

The source of those “leaked papers” is an outfit called D.R.A.S.T.I.C Research. It sounds like something Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin would’ve dreamed up, but cites as “principal investigator” none other than Peter Daszak, who Republican politicians have been targeting as a sinister figure in cahoots with the Wuhan lab.*

“A House Foreign Affairs Committee Republican report that points the finger at the Wuhan lab as the origin of COVID-19 calls on scientist Peter Daszak to be subpoenaed, labeling him the “public face” of a Chinese “disinformation campaign designed to suppress public discussion about a potential lab leak.””

http://yahoo.com/now/peter-daszak-subpoenaed-wuhan-lab-183600491.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAF15QWjdWe-wIoPIKwILZCKcuoOzBPrF_wlQ5pyy3e4_LYMVH7U8PGQpUybSKrzxnhyqHH9Y5mhB-aiYOHoMLnmwmIQoUsqETo8TD_utLsCWMtlMlM10rWDsSadzhOOCD0f8lv0rLD1Yx8133Ppd7Aq2ncFJxwff0D8vkK7m-LIM

Even if you believe the Man from D.R.A.S.T.I.C., the “leaked papers” show that U.S. officials refused to fund the work. Weren’t the Chinese supposed to have nefariously plotted such research? Why would they have asked for authorization?

Could this latest kerfuffle be an attempt by Daszak to cover for his own role in the Wuhan Bat Conspiracy?

Just asking questions.

*The D.R.A.S.T.I.C. Research website identifies as part of its “team” such luminaries as #GalileoPrinciple, The Seeker and Coronavirus Movie. For some reason I can’t turn up any of their research at PubMed…

“Leaked grant proposals” sounds like a claim that someone else wanted to do something, but didn’t. In this case, the claim is that some scientists in China wanted to stop bats from getting sick, in order to stop humans from catching diseases from those bats.

But as you admit, even if the claim about someone in Wuhan having asked for money in 2018 to prevent future pandemics is true, it wouldn’t affect what we should do now. Advice that would have to include “use your handy time machine” isn’t actionable.

It also isn’t a plausible excuse for giving public health jobs to people who object to vaccination, mask mandates, and the whole idea of public health.

Thanks for the heads up. It’s obviously Bat S*** front to back and top to bottom. Still I expect we will be hearing about it for months to come. Some people will believe anything.

Orac said, “Dr. Ladapo, the main signatories of the GBD, and others doctors and academics like them, serve the same role as tobacco scientists did a half century ago in that they provide a patina of seeming scientific rational for ideology-based policies rooted in bad science and thus essential tools of the disinformation machine promoting resistance to public health interventions.”
.
This!
Yes! Exactly this!

Thank you, Orac, for picking up on this and stating it.
The alties are always harping on how, in their deluded eyes, mainstream med is like the few bought-and-paid-for doctors that the tobacco industry waved around while it is really the alt-med doctors and the “contrarians” who are actually emulating those cranks.
Out of the million+ US physicians there are only a few contrarian/kook/grifter physicians who are doing their best to spread their dangerous delusional view of reality to the public.
The vast majority of physicians need to vigorously decry these crackpots en masse. Relentlessly… Because that’s what these cranks are doing with their disinfo.
.
Thanks and have fun.

Seems like a PR stunt more than anything. Doesn’t make the appointment less odious or viable as it probably means the state will screw around with their data to keep up the confusion. Florida has vaccinated pretty well over the last couple of months (religiously or not) and looks to be close to US average. It’s not like many haven’t embraced the science and reality of vaccination.

The governor has to play to his crowd after all, but the science of vaccination is pretty clear to a reasonable mind. I think what this appointment says, is that there will be no mandates to get the vaccine in Florida. Maybe the more enlightened will also see the value in a vaccine to protect them from the worst outcomes. Maybe it will be accepted that more people will die for their health freedom. I suspect the rate of vaccination to trend upwards despite the clown show antics — even in Florida. It’s almost a religion!

https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-tracker

https://ycharts.com/indicators/florida_coronavirus_full_vaccination_rate

https://ycharts.com/indicators/florida_coronavirus_deaths

I can only assume DeSantis is getting some kind of campaign donation kickback from the Ivermectin grifters of the Front Line Doctors to go along with the Regeneron profit kickbacks. Why do COVID denialism and anti-vax purely for political purposes when you can monetize it, too?

OT but possibly of interest to Orac and other sceptics: the Wikipedia War

Today, the haughty, hoary old woo-meister concluded his noontime extravaganza with an announcement ( curiously, it didn’t start until after his terrestrial station link signed off at the 55 minute mark AND its total 7-8 minutes were not archived at either of his websites – so you can’t hear it)
He claimed that his suit was “settled” and that he was “pleased” BUT then launched into an angry rant about how WP doesn’t allow you to change your bio and how they omitted his many accomplishments, reeling off hundreds of awards for his so-called documentaries and his multitude of athletic awards and records. He didn’t sound at all pleased. There will be many more suits.

I know that he has gone after ‘people we know’ for e-mail records and named WP editors, Guy and Paul, and members of the Wikimedia board for possible suits. In the past, he sued WP and settled for an insultingly low amount. ( see Quackwatch) He will continue his battle because after all, he studied The Art of War.

OK. I found something on the current Wikipedia talk page for GN:
the suit against Guy was “dismissed with prejudice” on 10 Sept, 2021, NY.
” Settled” the dude said?

It’s not crazy talk. The parties agree to a settlement, and the case is dismissed with prejudice. As I understand it, the question becomes what happens if the defendant bails on a settlement payment. Then again, I need to lie down again — it seems as though my somatic and mental cogs and wheels are both way off with a 24/7 circadian rhythm, but they’re not synchronized with each other. Gah.

the suit against Guy was “dismissed with prejudice” on 10 Sept, 2021, NY.
” Settled” the dude said?

That does settle the matter in question.

…hoary old woo-meister

Hoary, huh? Does that mean that Null has given up on the shitty hair dye jobs?

@ Narad, DB and TBruce:

All joking aside**, his attempts to sue for Wikipedia’s bio have been dismissed twice now. He had to pay for WP’s legal expenses- a pittance 475 USD- in the past, signaling that a coterie of legal eagles was not enlisted ( for that fee, you could hire ME- not a lawyer). the new one had each party pay their own fees. By suing editors, he thought that he would be circumventing previous rulings about commenters on websites I suppose. But no dice.

I also found via QuackWatch, that he is selling his Florida estate*** for 9.5M USD ( Mansions Global, August 2021) which leads me to speculate that something is amiss in his empire:
— he quit his eponymous health food store in NYC last year although his name remains because… high rents
— he recently stopped living in his rented apartment in NYC because ” NY is hell”
— he is cutting back on his line of products because it’s too expensive to produce small batches of totally excellent stuff

** his hair is as dyed as ever: ‘hoary’ is also a play on words. He cluelessly includes photos/ videos of himself 30-40 years ago on his websites as if readers will not see the differences- his face used to move.
*** 15 acres: it has trees and monkeys! It’s solar powered and hurricane proof!

Fifteen acres seems kind of tight for an estate with monkeys. How does he keep them from wandering off?

Narad:
Rational Wiki has an entry on him that includes videos of his two estates ( accompanied by sprightly Caribbean music) and of his MONKEYS!
From what I can ascertain, the creatures live inside a building and do not roam free.
He calls the place- currently for sale at Sotheby / pictured at Mansion Global Aug 2021- an “animal sanctuary”- it also has peacocks. I guess the animals are included in the asking price.

My best monkey story (and it’s true!):

While cycling somewhere in Europe many moons ago I was given directions as follows. Half way down the mountain there’s a small village. When you come to the monkey you make a right turn onto an unmarked lane.

Speeding downhill, I braked as I entered a quiet little village and looked around, not quite sure what to expect and not seeing any people out and about. Soon enough I saw the monkey. I slowed down to consider this peculiar development. I looked at the monkey and the monkey looked at me. It was leashed on the porch of a private residence so it couldn’t wander off.

I shrugged, turned right and proceeded up the next mountain pass as if this was a perfectly ordinary occurrence.

How stupid can our modern society get. You all are fretting over a STATE political appointment.Over his support of a political/scientific document. If that was a disqualifer, the non scientific research that I just did, shows that 90% of all appointed government persons would not have jobs.

On to more important items in the scientific news that we should all direct our attention at: Just when you got over the news that math could be racist or that animal names could be racist or using a pronoun is sexist, “Loony Tunes” cartoons are demeaning (I could keep going but I have probably offended a lot of someones with just those 4 things)…….

When what use to be the top journal for the latest science, has actually published an article critical of the ‘JEDI’, yes the Star Wars kind.

scientificamerican.com/article/why-the-term-jedi-is-problematic-for-describing-programs-that-promote-justice-equity-diversity-and-inclusion/

I read the JEDI criticism. It is really “over the top”, however I do believe they have a point, in that “JEDI” encourages a slant that may not be appropriate. I think it’s reasonable to recommend a change to a more neutral term.
Scientific American has not been a “top journal” for a long while. After all, they have been publishing John Horgan’s drivel for years

Star wars is a commercial movie franchise directed primarily to the 12-19 demographic. Jedi are imaginary characters that do not exist and did not exist at any prior time.
The isn’t The Scientific American, it’s The Ephemeral American.

Political appointment in question was Surgeon General. One would think someone in this position is supportive to public health measures.

How many of the SBM people would be screaming right now if a Trump appointed head of the CDC had over ridden the expert science panel advise, the way that Dr. Rochelle Walensy did? Those people would all be telling us that the CDC was not following the science and the decision was a political decision and not one based on science.

“But she broke from the panel by also clearing boosters for those in high-risk occupational and institutional settings in an unusual decision”

cnbc.com/2021/09/23/covid-booster-shots-cdc-panel-endorses-third-pfizer-doses-for-millions.html

Florida Republican State Senator Manny Diaz, who chairs the state Senate Health Policy Committee, has called for a review of all vaccine mandates, including requirements for schoolchildren to be vaccinated for diseases like polio, mumps and rubella. Diaz, who tested positive for Covid-19 last winter and has affirmed hem is not vaccinated, says he’s “firmly against vaccine mandates.”

To emphasize, this guy is not a back-bench outlier. He’s who the GOP chose to head the Health Policy Committee,

I live in Florida and have met His Highness DeathInsanity. One of the stupidest and smarmiest pustules imaginable. Public health figures here have always been toadies. This arse-licker is no exception. Remember that they raided the home of a data scientist and threatened her toddler for refusing to massage the facts.

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