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Florida's surgeon general asked to leave meeting after refusing to wear mask

Rep. Tina Polsky was scheduled to meet with Dr. Joseph Ladapo in her office, but he refused to wear a mask after she disclosed she has a serious medical condition.

MIAMI — Florida's surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, was asked to leave a meeting after refusing to wear a mask at the office of a state senator who told him she had a serious medical condition.

The Florida Senate president sent a memo to senators, saying it was disappointing to learn of the incident at the office of Democratic state Sen. Tina Polsky, and asking visitors to be respectful.

Dr. Ladapo offered to go outside, but Polsky said she did not want to sit on the metal picnic tables on a warm day when her office was nice and spacious. She said she asked whether there was a reason why he couldn’t wear a mask, but he wouldn’t answer. 

Polsky was recently diagnosed with breast cancer but had not made it public.

“It was so shocking to me that he treated me in this manner,” Polsky told the Associated Press. “If he is a surgeon general for the next several years, I am really concerned about a future public health emergency and not being able to rely on him for necessary guidance and proper scientific leadership.”

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Dr. Ladapo was appointed to the post of Florida surgeon general by Gov. Ron DeSantis in September.

A day into his job, Dr. Ladapo signed new rules allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school after being exposed to people who tested positive for COVID-19.


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