TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo met with members of Florida’s Public Health Integrity Committee (PHIC) to discuss the First Interim Report released by the Florida Statewide 22nd Grand Jury on the harmful impacts of mask mandates and lockdowns, all pushed by the federal government. To watch the roundtable click here.
“Florida rejected the prevailing orthodoxy regarding non-pharmaceutical interventions, but in reality, just followed pre-COVID pandemic response guidance, which elite bureaucrats tossed aside as fear and hysteria took over,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida preserved freedom and blocked mandates. The grand jury has now confirmed what we knew all along – Florida got it right.”
In this initial report, the grand jury noted that their investigation was hampered due to the refusal to participate by various federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even with this refusal from the federal government impeding a review to allow for transparency and accountability, the report’s determinations were clear:
Lockdowns and mask mandates caused more collateral damage than good. The jury identified anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior, and attention deficits were attributable to the “heavy-handed” policies of lockdowns.
Lockdowns resulted in higher excess mortality rates. The jury found that jurisdictions that implemented lockdowns tended to have higher overall excess mortality rates.
Evidence to support mask mandates were abysmal. “There is uncertainty about the effects of face masks,” the jury concluded. There has never been sound evidence of effectiveness against the virus from face masks that provided statistically significant benefits.
The CDC’s COVID-19 hospitalization data is likely inflated. The jury found that the CDC’s number of total COVID-19 hospitalizations is likely inflated due to asymptomatic or minor SARS-CoV-2 infections among patients that were classified as COVID-19 hospitalizations in order to financially benefit the hospital.
“Leading by common sense and sound science was a priority for Florida from day one of COVID-19,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo. “The findings of the grand jury demonstrate how going against federal mandates was the right choice for the health and freedom of all Floridians. The lasting damage done to Americans by COVID-19 mandates is no secret, but the grand jury’s first interim report makes it even more evident.”
“During the pandemic, we threw away the basic principles of public health,” said Dr. Martin Kulldorff, PhD. “The verdict is in. Lockdowns were a huge mistake.”
“CDC and other bodies ignored basic science, used their power to silence scientists that didn’t agree with them, and subverted high-quality evidence to make decisions,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD. “In 2021, [Governor DeSantis] ordered monoclonal antibody treatment for Floridians, and the Biden administration cut the funding at a time that would have saved countless lives. Now, I don’t know for sure, but it looked to me like one political party trying to hurt members of another political party.”
“There have been some accounting tricks used to make COVID-19 seem more dangerous than it really was. There is something odd that a fundamental principle of public health was thrown under the bus,” said Dr. Bret Weinstein, PhD. “It is great to see the state of Florida acting in a capacity of international leadership. The entire planet is suffering from the exhaustion from COVID.”
“Every American knows a large number of mistakes were made. We’re not seeing a nation come together on what we did wrong,” said Dr. Joseph Fraiman, MD. “I hope the grand jury can offer our country guidance on how to organize our government and how to handle events like this in the future.”
“Spotlight needs to be shown on the federal agencies and their actions during the pandemic. That needs to come from the highest level possible, and that’s not happening,” said Dr. Steven Templeton, PhD. “I don’t think [the federal government] has an appetite right now to address these problems, and I don’t think there is going to be an appetite anytime soon for it.”