Omicron cases are surging across the country, and last week, Florida had its highest number of positive COVID tests since the beginning of the pandemic, not to mention double the number of COVID inpatients it had the week before. Naturally, any responsible person with symptoms is testing, which has led to a shortage of rapid home tests. In response, the Biden administration has decided to ramp up the number of testing sites as well as purchase 500 million rapid home tests to be sent out to anyone who requests them.
Why? Because we all know, and have known for some time, that testing is one of the best ways we can limit the spread of COVID. If we know we have it, we can take the proper precautions in terms of quarantining and staying the hell away from people so we don't infect them.
But Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has a different idea. A very different idea.
As Omicron surges, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo says the state is working to "unwind" the COVID "testing psychology" that the federal government has prioritized.pic.twitter.com/cju0o1uVJm— The Recount (@The Recount) 1641229471
In a press conference on Monday, Ladapo stood at a podium with a big sign on it reading "early treatment saves lives" and explained that he believes we've all been testing too much and should make testing for COVID a "grandmas only" affair.
My department’s goal is going to be to put out testing that doesn’t restrict access to testing, but reduces the use of low-value testing and prioritizes high-value testing. And what do we mean by that? High-value testing is testing that is likely to change outcomes. So if your grandmother gets a test, that’s a much more valuable test than the eight-year-old third graders Los Angeles County is sending in to get weekly testing, right? The first one is much more likely to change outcomes. So, we are going to be putting out guidance that puts more emphasis on that. And, so, we are going to be working to unwind the testing psychology that our federal leadership has managed to, unfortunately, get most of the country in over the last two years.
This seems to be the fundamental thing the Right can't quite seem to grasp about the virus. Sure, a younger person is more likely to survive COVID than their grandparents are — but if the younger person doesn't get tested and then goes to visit their grandparents, they're going to spread it to them. And that's not good!
Ladapo has a history of COVID wackiness. He first sauntered into the national spotlight with "America's Frontline Doctors," a ragtag group of wacky COVID conspiracy theorists including Dr. Simone Gold and Dr. Stella "Demon Sperm" Immanuel, which is likely how he ended up being tapped by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to be the state's surgeon general. From the beginning of the pandemic onward, his primary belief has been that if we all ignore it, it will just go away — a tactic about as likely to work with a deadly virus as it is with middle school bullies.
In addition to opposing mask mandates and literally any official policy meant to keep people from spreading COVID-19, Ladapo has claimed that vaccines are not necessarily more effective against COVID than "losing weight, exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables."
Last week, Ladapo complained that the Biden administration had decided to pause shipments on certain monoclonal antibody treatments aren't effective against Omicron, because using them to try and treat Omicron when there is not an infinite supply of these treatments is pretty wasteful. Florida, along with seven other southern states, has been bogarting 70 percent of the country's supply of monoclonal antibody treatments, which are very expensive, because many people in those states prefer doing that to masking and vaccinating. (This is yet another reason that "it's because they don't trust the medical establishment or Big Pharma" is not a terrific excuse for why anti-vaxxers are anti-vaxxing.)
Without testing — without seeing where the virus is — we're right back to March 2020. Then, Trump was president and he didn't want testing because he liked the numbers "where they are." Can you imagine wanting to relive that moment?