NYT's Mazzei Again Takes Bat to Fla. Surgeon General for Going 'Against CDC Advice'

March 11th, 2022 11:20 AM

New York Times Miami bureau chief Patricia Mazzei took another rhetorical bat to Florida’s new surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo for rejecting overbearing Covid restrictions and regulations, in Tuesday’s edition: “Against C.D.C. Advice, Florida to Advise Against Covid Vaccines for Healthy Children.”

Two weeks ago she unloaded on Ladapo, an appointee of Governor Ron DeSantis (R) and an immigrant from Nigeria, for resisting Covid hysteria regarding government mandates for vaccines and masks:

Contradicting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida will soon recommend that healthy children not get vaccinated against Covid-19, the state’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, announced on Monday.

“The Florida Department of Health is going to be the first state to officially recommend against the Covid-19 vaccines for healthy children,” said Dr. Ladapo, who has expressed skepticism about the vaccines’ effectiveness.

The "Science!"-shouting left isn't too fond of the CDC either these days, for loosening mask mandates, but Mazzei apparently hasn't gotten the memo yet. 

One angle left unexplored: Expending vaccines on healthy children who don’t need them, while millions of people in the developing world remain totally unvaccinated (click “expand”):

During the discussion, Dr. Ladapo, a DeSantis appointee, and other panelists cited studies suggesting limited or rapidly waning protection against infection from the coronavirus vaccine in children, who already had lower infection rates than adults.

“We’re kind of scraping at the bottom of the barrel, particularly with healthy kids,” Dr. Ladapo said.

Several studies have shown that even though vaccine efficacy against infection wanes over time, the immune response remains highly protective against hospitalization and death, even against the highly contagious Omicron variant.

The C.D.C. has urged parents to get their children vaccinated. “Covid-19 can make children very sick and cause children to be hospitalized,” the agency’s website says. “In some situations, the complications from infection can lead to death.”

Another point skipped: The World Health Organization -- whose opinion the paper selectively respects -- is decidedly not on board the mass vaccination of young children:

The government notes that vaccinating children can also protect family members who are not eligible for vaccination -- including children younger than 5 -- or who are at increased risk for serious illness if infected. More children were hospitalized during the Omicron surge than at any other point in the pandemic.

That hospitalization point above is misleading at best. As Emily Oster writes in The Atlantic, “…the higher rates in the 0-to-4 group are driven by children younger than 1, who are more likely to be hospitalized for COVID and in general -- and who are not required to wear masks.”

Mazzei let White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denounce the sensible decision as a “conspiracy theory”:

“It’s deeply disturbing that there are politicians peddling conspiracy theories out there and casting doubt on vaccination when it is our best tool against the virus and the best tool to prevent even teenagers from being hospitalized,” she said.

Most public health experts disagree with how quickly Florida dropped virus mitigation measures; more than 70,000 people have died in total. But Mr. DeSantis has only become more strident in his approach over time. The governor and Dr. Ladapo have appeared to step up their crusade against what they have characterized as unnecessary and harmful pandemic policies ever since the Florida Senate confirmed the surgeon general to his job last month.

For some reason Mazzei didn’t rehash her ridiculous gotcha about Florida from her previous piece, in which she pointed out the state was among the 20 worst for its pandemic death rate. How awful is being among the worst 20 out of 50 states -- especially a state with the nation’s highest percentage of vulnerable elderly based on total population?