Power, Politics, and Public Health: Push and Pull Florida

On Florida Roundabout, With WLRN’s Tom Hudson and WJCT’s Melissa Ross, how the pendulum of public health power has shifted from local governments to the state. Also, why have children’s vaccination rates dropped? And a great solution to pain pills ?.

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The pandemic brought a focus on power, politics and public health in Florida, but did not start with COVID-19.

In Florida, decisions about all sorts of infectious diseases and public health issues come from the state capital. Tallahassee calls for things like hiding vaccinations and quarantine. For decades, however, individual counties have had a lot of talk about public health.

Florida Public Health It started in the 16th century with yellow fever. For a long time, the big decisions that affected Florida’s health came from the county’s health departments. In order to achieve more equity, Democrats shifted that power to the state, and somewhere Republicans have taken the transformation of public health to the big government.

Most states do not have a general surgeon, but Florida is one of them. The position is the state’s chief public health officer. There has been a lightning of debate throughout the pandemic and it has helped make Florida’s public health decisions move away from regional health departments to state government.

First, General Surgeon Scott Rivkees was out of the public eye in most public health emergencies and was unable to answer questions from the public or lawmakers. He eventually resigned.

The new surgeon-general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, has not shied away from controversy and has spoken out against vaccination and mask-up orders against Governor Ron DeSantis, among other policies.

WLRN’s Danny Rivero and Veronica Zaragovia discussed the balance of power with public health on the “Tallahassee Takeover” podcast.

LISTEN MORE: Tallahassee Takeover Podcast for iPhone
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“I stopped telling you”

The COVID-19 pandemic is now in its third year and continues to have an impact on the lives of health workers.

Darleen Gruver lives in Brooksville, a small town in northern Tampa. She has been a hospital nurse who has been providing end-of-life care for almost 20 years. He says he has seen a lot of people die, but COVID-19 has made things worse. In the first year of the virus, Gruver performed a rigorous count of people who helped him with comfort in the last hours or days when they died as a result of the virus.

“I think when I turned 40, I stopped counting on my own. I didn’t want to know any more. And that was the first year. That was 2020,” WUSF said.

His concern after more than two years is a shortage of colleagues. Its staff groups are less than a third the size of COVID-19. Instead of groups of 20 to 22 people, they have dropped to six.

The fall of conventional vaccines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that fewer children receive the regular immunizations needed to enter school.

Jill Roberts, a public health professor at the University of South Florida, pointed out several reasons for the national decline that began in the first year of the pandemic. At first, parents may be concerned about taking a child to see a doctor, and the school was largely online for the first three months of the pandemic. Health record requirements, at the time, were not enforced.

“So unfortunately, another factor is likely to be the question of vaccination,” he told WUSF. “It’s different in Covid that it puts people in a different category. They see kids taking COVID and recovering and they’re apparently fine,” he said.

“So in their minds, COVID doesn’t equate to all the other diseases we contracted for polio and vaccines. So this question really grew to say, ‘Well, maybe we don’t need this, maybe it’s a mild disease, maybe it’s endangering my child.’ I’m doing”. If you have that little question, those who are pushing for vaccine campaigns will jump in, ”Roberts said.

According to the CDC, Florida’s kindergartens are in better condition than others. In the 2020-2021 school year, only one in 500 children in Florida did not have a complete recommended vaccination schedule. Nationally, 17 out of 500 people did not receive full vaccination coverage for diseases such as measles, paper and diphtheria.

Opioid fights across Florida

More people die from drug overdoses in Florida than in almost any other state. Only California has more, according to national statistics.

Nearly 8,000 in Florida died of drug overdoses in 2021. This was 4% more than the previous year. The most common culprits are opioids with prescribed analgesics and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, which can be 50 times more potent than heroin.

Fentanyl deaths range from large urban counties to smaller rural areas across the state. Fentanyl deaths in Eschandia County, Panhandle, rose by more than 350% last year.

“We’re not doing well in the Panhandle,” Dr. David Josephs, clinical director of the Lakeview Center in Pensacola, told WUWF. “For many years, taking pain medications has been a boost, especially opiates, to manage your pain. And of course, these medications are very addictive,” he said.

It’s wrong everywhere, “Dr. Kenneth Palestrant told WQCS. He is a senior member of the Treasure Coast Opioid Task Force.

“Because laws in different states have repealed opioid prescriptions, what happens in the end is that many of these people who are addicted to opioid prescriptions, and no longer receive them from doctors, go to the streets.

A new wave of opioid deaths, often mixed with psychostimulants, is sparking old fears in Palm Beach County, so families are now asking the sheriff’s office to take Narcan away. Drug overdose deaths rose nearly 30 percent in the first two months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to the Palm Beach County Medical Bureau. This rise has led to a new study by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office politicians against deputies carrying emergency medications to reverse opioid overdoses.

Southeast Florida Recovery Advocates organized a rally outside a sheriff’s executive office in January. Organizer Maureen Kielian and others sent a letter to PBSO deputies asking them to take overdose treatment. Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw did not accept an invitation to a WLRN interview. A spokesman said the policy was based on concerns about accountability.

The Sheriff’s Office also said paramedics are the first to arrive at the alleged drug overdoses. This claim was based on a 10-year investigation that is no longer available.

Most Florida sheriff’s offices train lawmakers on how to administer and carry naloxone, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Breaking the glass ceiling of baseball

Florida’s baseball glass ceiling is breaking. A year ago, the Miami Marlins became the first Major League Baseball team led by a woman. Kim Ng is the CEO of Marlins.

And this spring, Rachel Balkovec was the first woman to coach a minor league team in the major leagues when Tampa Tarps took over the field.

Balkovec is accustomed to the former. In 2019, she became the first woman to become a coup coach in minor leagues when she filled the position of a minor league affiliate in the New York Yankees.

He is a former softball catcher who learned Spanish to improve communication with his players.

“If I walk in front of a room, she knows how to speak confidently, oh, and then I can say in Spanish, well, well, well, this woman is a business and this is a job, she’s a professional,” she told WUSF. “I really don’t think it took them too long, you know, to realize that I’m just a coach. And in the end, they forget about it and they’re all around me.”

His Tarpons won 9-6 against the Lakeland Flying Tigers at the start of the April season.

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