Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo is now discouraging people who are at lower risk of contracting severe cases of COVID, which includes children and individuals without symptoms, from getting tested for the illness, going on to state that the state’s health guidelines will soon be reflecting this belief.
This, of course, goes against what the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is recommending, which is that all people take a test if they have any symptoms of the illness or have had close contact with someone who has contracted the coronavirus, or if they are not fully vaccinated.
Ladapo’s comments concerning mass testing come after President Joe Biden and his administration just last month announced a new plan to distribute 500 million at-home COVID tests.
The Florida Department of Health’s recommendations will encourage tests only for those more likely to need treatment for COVID-19, such as the elderly, Ladapo said.
“My department’s goal … doesn’t restrict access to testing, but reduces the use of low-value testing and prioritizes high-value testing,” Ladapo went on to say. “High-value testing is testing that is likely to change outcomes. We need to unwind this … planning and living one’s life around testing.”
Florida International University epidemiologist Mary Jo Trepka criticized Ladapo, telling the Orlando Sentinel that he wrongly implies that the highest value gained from testing is determining whether someone needs to be treated for coronavirus, when the more valuable aspect is actually reducing community spread through the ability of tests to tell someone whether they need to isolate.
Trepka stated that “we don’t really have an effective treatment for COVID-19 with the omicron variant … but I would argue that you can really prevent a lot of infections if you test widely, because then those people who are asymptomatic or very mildly ill can find out if they have COVID-19 and then they can … avoid spending time with highly vulnerable people.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis backed Ladapo’s decision and stated that reduced testing would help to increase access to tests across the state for those in vulnerable populations, like the elderly.
“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 commented.
Once again, the state of Florida and its leadership are leading the way when it comes to how to properly handle this pandemic and everything associated with it.