NATIONAL NEWS

Gov. DeSantis and Florida surgeon general warn against new COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine

Sep 7, 2023, 9:08 AM | Updated: 3:50 pm

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a Republican presi...

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by FOX News Channel, Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee. DeSantis says he got a $1 million cash bump after Wednesday night’s presidential debate. His campaign says that amount came in over the first 24 hours after DeSantis and seven other contenders met in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday criticized recent efforts across the U.S. to tamp down a recent jump in COVID-19 cases through temporary restrictions or masking, and his state surgeon general warned against getting the latest COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected to be available this month.

The criticism from DeSantis at news conference in Jacksonville, Florida, arrived the same day that his campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination sent out an email to supporters vowing to “fight back against every bogus attempt the Left makes to expand government control” when it comes to COVID-19 precautions.

At the Jacksonville news conference in an Irish pub, DeSantis and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo promised Florida won’t be joining states, cities or school districts across the U.S. in temporarily closing schools or mandating mask-wearing because of the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

“People are lurching toward this insanity again,” DeSantis said. “As we see these things being orchestrated … there needs to be pushback.”

Lapado said there were no arguments for getting the latest vaccine. “There are a lot of red flags,” he said.

Ladapo’s previous warnings against COVID-19 vaccines merited a public letter from federal health agencies saying his claims were harmful to the public. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent the letter in March to Ladapo, a DeSantis appointee who has attracted national scrutiny over his close alignment with the governor in opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other health policies embraced by the federal government.

Ladapo last year released guidance recommending against COVID-19 vaccinations for healthy children, contradicting federal public health leaders whose advice says all children should get the shots.

“It is the job of public health officials around the country to protect the lives of the populations they serve, particularly the vulnerable. Fueling vaccine hesitancy undermines this effort,” said the letter signed by FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and then-CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

DeSantis’ news conference in Jacksonville came almost two weeks after three Black people were fatally shot by a 21-year-old white supremacist who authorities say left behind ramblings that read like “the diary of a madman.” At a vigil the day after the shootings, DeSantis was booed by the crowd during his speech.

This year, DeSantis signed a bill allowing people to carry guns without getting a state permit. He has antagonized civil rights leaders by deriding “wokeness.”

During a question-and-answer period at Thursday’s news conference, an unidentified man suggested the governor’s policies contributed to the shootings. The governor responded angrily, saying he shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of “some madman.”

“I’m not going to allow you to accuse me of committing criminal activity,” DeSantis said. “I’m not going to take that! I’m not going to take that!”

National News

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: Harris has secured enough support to earn party’s nomination, AP survey finds

Vice President Kamala Harris had a busy 24 hours after being endorsed as the Democratic presidential candidate by President Joe Biden. She has secured enough delegates to earn the party’s nomination and raised more than $81 million, a record sum for the 2024 political cycle. Meanwhile, The Secret Service director testified before a congressional committee […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

2 killed when small plane crashes after takeoff from Long Island airport

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (AP) — A small plane crashed shortly after takeoff on New York’s Long Island, killing both people who were on board, authorities said. The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A36 took off from MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma at about 6:15 p.m. Monday and crashed after the pilot tried to return to the runway, Suffolk County […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Kamala Harris is preparing to lead Democrats in 2024. There are lessons from her 2020 bid

ATLANTA (AP) — Kamala Harris was greeted by a massive, cheering crowd during the first rally of her newly announced presidential campaign in 2019. Speaking on a late January day outside city hall in her hometown of Oakland, California, she framed her bid as part of something bigger than simply winning an election. “We are […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Unsold 2024 Escalade utility vehicles sit in a row outside a Cadillac dealership on June 2, ...

Associated Press

With US vehicle prices averaging near $50K, General Motors sees 2nd-quarter profits rise 15%

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. customers who bought a new General Motors vehicle last quarter paid an average of just under $49,900, a price that helped push the company’s net income 15% above a year ago. And GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said he doesn’t see his company cutting prices very much, despite industry analysts’ […]

3 hours ago

FILE - In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Simone Biles, of the United States, watches gymnasts perfo...

Associated Press

Biles, Osaka and Phelps spoke up about mental health. Has anything changed for the Paris Olympics?

Lydia Jacoby was a breakout star in the pool for the United States at the last Summer Games, earning a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke and a relay silver. Part of what comes to mind from those heady days in Tokyo? “People talking about post-Olympic depression,” she said. She was 17 at the time, […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Harris to visit battleground Wisconsin in first rally as Democrats coalesce around her for president

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is making her first visit to a battleground state Tuesday after locking up enough support from Democratic delegates to win her party’s nomination to challenge former President Donald Trump, two days after President Joe Biden dropped his reelection bid. As the Democratic Party continues to coalesce around her, […]

5 hours ago

Gov. DeSantis and Florida surgeon general warn against new COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine