DeSantis’s Anti-Vaxx Surgeon General Commits Scientific Fraud

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Last week I blasted Rebekah Jones as a leftwing grifter who can’t seem to stop lying about things like “why she got fired” and “why her son was arrested” in order to get attention and money from people who hate and distrust Florida governor Ron DeSantis, aka Meatball Ron (the greatest nickname Donald Trump has invented to date). If you’ll recall, Jones accused DeSantis of firing her because she refused to change the Florida Department of Health COVID data to make the state look like it was doing better than it was, an accusation that now appears to be untrue.

But it’s important to fully represent both sides, which is why I’m back today to tell you that we actually DO now have very good evidence that someone at the Florida Department of Health really DID make some unethical edits to COVID data and it is incredibly fucked up and we all need to be talking about it.

Meatball Ron DeSantis sucks so much that I need to start by saying that today I’m not even going to address 90% of the stuff that makes DeSantis a vile, fascist, inept piece of garbage, like the “don’t say gay” shit, the anti-trans shit, the Disney shit – no, I’m just going to focus on one issue, and that issue is that he chose one of America’s Frontline Doctors to be his surgeon general, and that guy was just busted for altering a study to make it look as though COVID vaccines were dangerous.

I’ve talked about “America’s Frontline Doctors” (AFLDS) several times in the past but here’s the summary: they’re a collection of idiots who went viral in 2020 for holding a press release where they argued that COVID was no big deal and we should open up schools and businesses with no mask mandates or other precautions. At the time, their most interesting member was Dr. Stella Immannuel, who also thinks that “endometriosis, infertility and other problems with the reproductive system are caused by witches and demons that have sex with you while you’re asleep.” Among other beliefs.

But then in 2022 a new main character took the spotlight: Dr. Simone Gold, who took the lead of the group and turned it into a giant con that extracted money from gullible anti-vaxx/pro-COVID conservatives. Gold was arrested in 2021 for storming the US Capital and then in 2022 she was sued by her own organization for misappropriating MILLIONS of dollars for mansions and private jets and “personal expenses” for her boyfriend, who is an underwear model.

That was all pretty entertaining, but apparently AFLDS is the gift that keeps on giving, or more accurately the curse that keeps on fucking over society, because today I’d like to tell you about another prominent member: Dr. Joseph Ladapo. DeSantis tapped Ladapo as his surgeon general back in 2021, after Ladapo was already on the record as being anti-mandates, anti-mask, and anti-vaccine, all things that jibed with what DeSantis was already promoting. At the time of his appointment, Ladapo had already written a dozen Wall Street Journal op-eds questioning the safety of the COVID vaccines and arguing against pretty much all basic safety measures.

As surgeon general, Ladapo was placed in charge of Florida’s Department of Health, where he immediately signed an emergency rule ending the requirement for children to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 before they return to school. Literally, that’s what he did on Day 1.

Late last year, the state received an anonymous complaint that Ladapo was engaging in “scientific fraud” by “manipulating data” in a Department of Health report about the supposed dangers of the COVID vaccine for young men. An investigation was dropped after the complainant stopped responding to messages, but this week Politico reported that a Freedom of Information request resulted in them getting a document proving that Ladapo did exactly that. In the discussion portion of the study, it appears that Ladapo edited a sentence to read “COVID-19 vaccination was associated with a slight increased risk for cardiac-related mortality 28 days following vaccinations.” Sounds bad, right? Well, he deleted the second part of the sentence. In full, it originally read:

“COVID-19 vaccination was associated with a slight increased risk for cardiac-related mortality 28 days following vaccinations : in the primary analysis, but this association was attenuated and no longer significant when applying the event-dependent exposures model utilized for multidose vaccines. Thus, there is little suggestion of any effect

immediately following vaccination.

His edit literally changed the takeaway from “no significant risk” to “increased risk.” He went on to add, “Results from the stratified analysis for cardiac-related death following vaccination suggests mRNA vaccination may be driving the increased risk in males, especially among males aged 18- 39.”

Many scientists are calling this out as blatant fraud, including University of Florida professor Matt Hitchings who told Politico “I think it’s a lie. To say this — based on what we’ve seen, and how this analysis was made — it’s a lie.”

When reached for comment, Ladapo didn’t deny making the edits. Instead, he argued that he was RIGHT to make those edits because “the public has been the recipient of biased data and interpretations since the beginning of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine campaign,” he said. “I have never been afraid of disagreement with peers or media.”

“He also said that he determined the study was worthwhile since “the federal government and Big Pharma continue to misrepresent risks associated with these vaccines.””

He literally thinks it’s okay to manipulate data if you think the “other side” is doing it, too. Incredible.

So, there we have it: actual proof that someone in the Florida Department of Health (the guy running it, in fact) edited scientific data that went against his own anti-vaccine beliefs, pushing a dangerous narrative that young men are better off getting COVID than getting vaccinated. How many people believed him and this report? How many people failed to get vaccinated and ended up with COVID, which actually does elevate a young man’s risk of heart trouble? How many people ended up in the hospital, on a ventilator, or in the morgue because of this?

At the very least, this should cause Ladapo to lose his medical license. Harvard, where he got his degree, should rescind it.

And dear lord, do not let Meatball Ron get into the White House, because god knows how much damage that idiot can cause when he has an entire country to play with.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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