By Ryan Dailey, The News Service of Florida
TALLAHASSEE — Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant, Florida’s surgeon general on Monday indicated the state Department of Health would issue guidance that would “unwind the testing psychology” of the federal government.
Comments by Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and Gov. Ron DeSantis taking aim at mass testing came after President Joe Biden’s administration last month announced a plan to distribute 500 million at-home coronavirus tests to Americans.
“We need to unwind this … planning and living one’s life around testing,” Ladapo said during a news conference at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. “Without it, we’re going to be sort of stuck in the same cycle. So, it’s really time for people to be living, to make the decisions they want regarding vaccination, to enjoy the fact that many people have natural immunity. And to unwind this sort of preoccupation with only COVID as determining the boundaries and constraints and possibilities of life.”
DeSantis also pointed to what he characterized as frivolous testing for COVID-19.
“What you are seeing is there are people going to the drug stores, buying all these tests. They’ll go multiple times per week to the sites and test, without symptoms. That is just going to contribute to some of the crunch that you are seeing,” DeSantis said.
The state health department published a report on Friday that showed 298,455 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the week that ended Dec. 30. The total more than doubled from the previous week, when the health department reported 128,186 cases.
The number of Florida hospital patients with COVID-19 also has more than doubled during the past week, according to data posted Monday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency reported that 5,700 inpatients had COVID-19, up from 2,406 a week earlier.
Ladapo acknowledged the rapid rise in cases but said omicron symptoms are generally less severe than previous variants.
“Everyone knows omicron is spreading extremely rapidly,” Ladapo said. “The good news is that it appears to be less virulent, and the hospitalizations are not increasing nearly at the rate that the cases (are) … it’s not close. There’s a very big difference between the change in cases and the change in hospitalizations.”
Ladapo said the upcoming shift in the approach to testing would put an emphasis on higher-risk people, though he did not give specifics of the plan. He suggested that the new guidance “doesn’t restrict access to testing, but reduces the use of low-value testing and prioritizes high-value testing.”
“So, if your grandmother gets a test, that’s a much more valuable test than the 8-year-old third-graders that Los Angeles County (Calif.) is sending in to get weekly testing. The first one is much more likely to change outcomes,” Ladapo said.
Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller also said the state’s “seniors-first strategy still exists,” reinforcing DeSantis’ plan to prioritize the elderly population in addressing the virus. Seniors and people with underlying health conditions are far more vulnerable to dying from COVID-19 than other people.
The governor said symptoms of the omicron variant being less severe should encourage younger Floridians to conserve COVID-19 treatments, such as monoclonal antibody treatment, for seniors.
“It’s basically cold-like symptoms for a lot of those folks. That is not something you need to be coming in and getting monoclonals for. So, let’s look at our elderly population. Let’s look at folks that are immunocompromised or maybe things like diabetes that have shown to be a real serious risk factor,” DeSantis said.
David T. Hawkins you are so right. When Covid hit we had dubious public health officials change over a hundred years of science about infection control practices. Just threw them out the window. What The Fred?
Let’s get back to handwashing – it really helps! Masking (N95) only works if fit tested with donning and doffing correctly. Vaccines (if you can) will protect you from getting severely ill. Vaccines work and are safe for most people. Mandates don’t work. Getting angry with people is not very persuasive or reassuring.
@ Snidely… lmao (insert applause here)
A little OT but not much:
Just imagine yourself as a hypochondriac AND a mindless leftist. Dude these last 2 years are the absolute best years of your life. Getting jabs, masking up, chastising others to “pull your mask up”, watching CNN 27/7, huddled up in your home, peeping thru a slit in your curtains sure the noise you heard is someone waiting for you to open the door so they can sneeze on you. The best time of leftist hypochondriac’s lives. Finally they have a purpose and are free from screaming at the sky from triggering Trump tweets…Ahhhh!!!!!!…”Do You Remember The Times Of Your Life?”
I stopped washing my hands over a year ago. I don’t wear a mask unless the proprietor demands it and I really need what they have for sale.
A life well lived is hard and dangerous, it always has been, and it always will be. If you need to wear a mask outside, that’s none of my business. If that’s you, when you see me coming? Run!
I’m the guy with dirt under his fingernails and no mask…
@ David… absolutely correct. Don’t forget to use hand lotion now and again. The Hand sanitizer will dry the heck out of your skin, and with the cold weather upon us, it could get worse.
… my wife tells me this anyway 🙂
Washing Hands will do more for you than a Mask will. I am constantly washing my hands at work and I keep a canister of Disinfecting Wipes on my Desk to wipe my Hands between washings. I go through about 15 Wipes a day and I only pull out a new one when the one I’m using dries out. I also I keep a canister of Disinfecting Wipes in my Truck. You would be surprised at how many times you touch your face during the day. It is a shame that this Administration doesn’t talk about Hand Washing any more.
I’m over COVID….let’s move on.
A co-worker of mine and his wife have both been triple vax’d, and wear face diapers all day long… both just got the China Bio-Weapon Flu.
Beware the Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex
It’s all about politics and money… always has been; always will be… Tony Fraudci is the Joseph Mengele of our time, and I believe that history will bare this out. If you’re still buying into the whole China Bio-Weapon Flu Scamdemic, or the latest Omi’con-job… then you deserve the misery it causes in your life.
I believe the main reason the Brandon Administration is pushing tests is to keep the case count up and prolong this thing as long as they can. For the vast majority of people Omicron is basically the common cold or a mild flu. No one tests for the common cold because nobody cares.
Once again Florida is three steps ahead and gaining on the Brandon Administration.
“Unwind” the (Biden Administration) psychology, is genius. Doctor Ladapo should get a bonus for that one!
The problem is, Biden and his Administration is making Businesses ask for the Test before you can do business with them. You can’t Fly with out proof, Eat or Shop without proof, etc… Since Biden and his Administration can’t scare you anymore, they do this.
I don’t understand this obsession with getting tested. If you feel fine why are you testing? Move on with your life. If you feel sick stay home for a few days and assume you had the Omicold. It’s not like a test makes you better in anyway.
Floridians are very blessed to have an intelligent, rational and honest Governor and Surgeon General.
“DeSantis also pointed to what he characterized as frivolous testing for COVID-19.”
I totally agree. Isn’t an elevated Temp the first sign?
I expected more Cases over the last couple of weeks and expect even more next week. Look at all the Football Games that took place in Florida and each one was Shoulder to Shoulder packed with people NOT wearing Masks. I also suspect those higher numbers are mostly the new Omicron Virus so there shouldn’t be that much to worry about as far as Deaths go. According to Biden’s numbers, EVERYONE should have or had it by January 31st. so, we will get to see if the Herd Immunity actually works. According to Biden, 70% of US is Vaxxed, 35% boosted (not including his illegals) so, we should be good.