Florida’s Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo issued a forceful rejection of mask mandates for kids at a press conference Wednesday.
Ladapo spoke at an event in Brevard County with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appointed Ladapo to his position as Surgeon General in September. Ladapo, a Harvard-educated cardiologist and professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine, has been an outspoken opponent of mask and vaccine mandates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want you guys to step back for a moment from what you hear, sort of constantly, on TV, and just very briefly in terms of the data that supports mask use in kids and mandates for masks in kids, it is very weak, and that’s a fact,” Ladapo said.
“There’s a substantial gap between the quality of the data out there supporting masking kids yielding any benefit for kids whatsoever, factual, and what we’re hearing from some of our public health leadership in other states and nationally.”
COVID-19 continues to pose minimal risk to children, with data showing that even unvaccinated children are at a substantially lower risk of severe illness from the virus than vaccinated senior citizens. Evidence has shown for the entirety of the pandemic that children do not spread the virus as easily as adults, either. (RELATED: Florida, CDC Failed To Publicly Release County COVID-19 Deaths For Over Three Months)
“The data do not support any clinical benefit for children in schools with mask mandates,” Ladapo continued. “The highest-quality data find no evidence of benefit.”
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 718 Americans under age 18 have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.