Florida surgeon general says he can't 'communicate clearly' with mask

Florida surgeon general says he can't 'communicate clearly' with mask
·2 min read

Florida's surgeon general said he refused to wear a mask during a meeting last week with a state senator who is being treated for cancer because he is unable to "communicate clearly" otherwise.

Dr. Joseph Lapado, who is facing backlash for declining a request by Florida state Sen. Tina Polsky to wear a mask during the meeting to talk about his Senate confirmation hearing, posted a statement to Twitter on Tuesday.

"I attempted in good faith to find some ways for us to communicate that would respect each of our preferences," Lapado said.


Lapado said it is important to him to hold conversations with people without the use of masks, "especially when other options exist."

"It is important to me to communicate clearly and effectively with people. I can't do that when half of my face is covered," Lapado said.

Lapado said he had recommended moving the meeting outdoors due to data showing that "outdoor settings are much safer than indoor settings."

During their meeting last week, Polsky, diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in August, said she told the surgeon general she had a "serious medical condition," but he "still didn't care," according to WPTV.

Polsky says the whole conversation felt like a negotiation and described Lapado as acting "smug."

As a result of his refusal to wear a mask, which is recommended by health officials to stop the spread of COVID-19 indoors, Lapado and two aides were asked to leave the Democrat's office.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted that people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have an increased risk of illness if they contract COVID-19.


Florida state Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Republican, sent a memo over the weekend to state senators and Senate professional staff, calling the interaction "disappointing" and Lapado's actions "unprofessional."

A Nigerian-born immigrant to the United States, Lapado was appointed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sept. 21, to be the surgeon general and secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Aligning himself with DeSantis, who opposes vaccine and mask mandates as well as business shutdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, Lapado says he believes in a personal freedom approach.

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Tags: News, Florida, Ron DeSantis, Coronavirus, Health

Original Author: Elizabeth Faddis

Original Location: Florida surgeon general says he can't 'communicate clearly' with mask

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