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TALLAHASSEE — Democrats walked out of a confirmation hearing for Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, saying he didn’t adequately answer questions on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Republicans then unanimously voted for the polarizing public health chief’s confirmation.
His nomination still requires a vote from the full Senate.
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book pressed Ladapo repeatedly to give a yes or no answer on whether vaccines are effective against COVID-19 at a meeting of the Health Policy Committee on Wednesday,
“Yes or no questions are not that easy to find in science,” he said. “… The most commonly used vaccines in the United States … have been shown to have relatively high effectiveness for the prevention of hospitalization and death and over time relatively low protection for infection.”
Book responded, “We get two buttons to push here, Dr. Ladapo. Yes or no. Do vaccines work in preventing COVID-19? Yes or no.”
Ladapo, who serves as Florida’s public health chief, said he is “married to data” and reiterated his answer that the vaccines have “reasonable effectiveness” against hospitalization and death.
Ladapo also declined to endorse masks, saying they hadn’t been shown to have a significant effect on the spread of COVID-19. That’s at odds with the advice of most public health officials who say masks, particularly N95 masks, are an effective way to slow transmission.
He wouldn’t explain why Dr. Raul Pino, Orange County’s health chief, was put on administrative leave, saying there was an active inquiry. Pino was put on leave after he sent an email to staff highlighting the department’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate and urging them to get vaccinated.
“I want to clarify that particular position was absolutely not placed on administrative leave for any reasons that were potentially political or related to anything other than the policies we have in the Department of Health,” Ladapo said.
Senators asked whether Ladapo regretted not agreeing to state Sen. Tina Polsky’s request to wear a mask during a meeting, a dispute that made national headlines. The Boca Raton Democrat had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
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Ladapo wouldn’t say whether he had regrets, instead stressing that he thought it was important to “respect people’s preferences.”
“We don’t feel we are getting any answers,” Book, D-Plantation, said after about an hour of questioning. “We know there is a long agenda today with a lot of bills. The Florida Senate Democrats in this committee are now going to abstain, walk out and come back when we have more business.”
After the walkout, Ladapo told reporters he thought he had accurately answered the questions.
“I wish them well,” he said. “I have no ill will toward them. I hope we can work together on issues of public health.”
As another semester arrives, we are all excited to explore the experiences that come with living in Miami. Between music, food and fashion, the entertainment scene this spring is full of exciting events. Public health and safety are still among our top priorities, so choose your outings wisely and make sure to follow all COVID-19 precautions like mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing.
South Beach Wine and Food Festival
Hosted by the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival is an annual event that showcases the world’s top wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.
From Feb. 24-27, the festival will hold wine tastings and seminars, high-class brunches and dinners, fitness sessions, family events and late-night parties. Some of this year’s talent includes culinary celebrity Guy Fieri, TV personality Rachel Ray and even singer Adam Levine hosting a high-class dinner.
Taking place from March 21 through April 3, the Miami Open returns to South Florida for another year! Featuring the world’s 96 top male and female tennis players, the international tennis tournament will take place at Hard Rock Stadium, which is home to both the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes football teams.
While it hasn’t yet been confirmed who will appear at the annual event, current tennis rankings hint that favorites like Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic will both compete. Past winners include Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Roger Federer. Tennis enthusiasts can secure tickets online for groups and single sessions, as well as partial and full tournament packages.
Taking place in March, Carnaval is a celebration of all things Miami, with a diverse lineup of events that cover art, music, fashion, food and sports. Carnaval on the Mile, happening the weekend of March 5 and 6, will feature art vendors, local cuisine and three concert stages boasting a cultural explosion of jazz, funk and rock music.
Other events, like the crowning of Miss Carnaval Miami in February, the annual golf and domino tournaments in Little Havana and the 5v5 soccer challenge in April all come together to round out the anticipated, high-energy Miami event.
Calle Ocho Music Festival
Located in the heart of Little Havana, the nation’s largest Latin music event highlights the vibrant Latin and Caribbean cultures here in South Florida. After Calle Ocho was canceled the last two years, the 2022 festival is set for March 13 and is free to attend.
Though the lineup has yet to be announced, the 20 blocks of Little Havana will feature 10 stages and a plethora of musical and dance performances, as well as international food and fun for all age demographics.
Ultra Music Festival
After being canceled in both 2020 and 2021, Ultra Music Festival will return to Miami this March! Held at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami, the three-day outdoor event will take place from March 25-27.
With a focus on electronic dance music, Ultra features a star-studded lineup of renowned DJ s —among them are David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Tiesto, KYGO and DJ Snake. Though they’re selling out quickly, three-day tickets can be purchased on the Ultra Music Festival website.
Is live music finally making a comeback? Artists from every genre are coming to the Miami area this spring.
If you’re into pop or R&B, make sure to grab a ticket and see Dua Lipa on her Future Nostalgia Tour or Justin Bieber on his Justice World Tour. Those who enjoy rap will be thrilled to hear that Amine, Tyler the Creator and Brockhampton are also playing venues in Miami. Is reggaeton more your style? Then you won’t want to miss J Balvin’s concert in May or Bad Bunny’s show at the FTX Arena this April.
For a full list of artists performing in the next few months, check out Ticketmaster for more information.
ASU Fashion Show & A Taste of Africa
The African Students Union did not come to play this spring. Join the organization as their two most beloved events return to campus! Both events are a celebration of the various African cultures, and there is always an abundance of cultural food and performances.
A Taste of Africa will be held on Wednesday, March 23rd, with more details like location to be determined. Dates for the fashion show are also TBD, so make sure to follow @asu_miami on Instagram and join the ASU Engage page to stay updated!
Based On Il Gattopardo, One Of The Greatest Literary Works Of The 20th Century Later Adapted To A Feature Film Considered One Of The Top Films Ever Made Starring
Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon, and Winner of the Prestigious
Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival
MET OPERA Baritone Kim Josephson joins star colleagues Robynne Redmon, Frank Ragsdale, and Kevin Short, with the rising students of the Frost Opera Theater
World Renowned Maestro Gerard Schwarz Conducts the Frost Symphony Orchestra
Alan Johnson, Music Director
Jeffrey Buchman, Stage Director
Award-winning film The Leopard- special single engagement at Coral Gables Art Cinema Feb. 27
With South Florida establishing itself as one of the premiere performing arts destinations in the world, it is befitting that an important work is having its world premiere in the Magic City. An opera adapted from one of the great novels of the 20th century has awarded its debut to the world-renowned artist faculty and gifted students of the Frost Opera Theater and Frost Symphony Orchestra of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. With members of its faculty led by Metropolitan Opera baritone Kim Josephson in the title role and 9-time Emmy Winning internationally renowned Maestro Gerard Schwarz conducting the Frost Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of the opera, THE LEOPARDwill take place March5 and 6, 2022 at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center; 10950 SW 211 St. Cutler Bay, FL 33189. Showtime for both shows is 3:00 PM. For tickets call 786-573-5300 or visit SMDCAC.ORG.
Set in Sicily in the year 1860, the opera is told through the eyes of Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina (also known as the Leopard). Known for his commanding personality, he is a member of an impoverished Sicilian aristocracy soon to be obsolete. Now facing a society in upheaval, he is forced to choose between decay and progress, and between the downfall of the nobility and the future of his family.
This highly anticipated opera,THE LEOPARD is the third and last collaboration between Michael Dellaira and American poet, librettist, and literary critic J. D. McClatchy. Dellaira completed the score in February 2018, just two months before McClatchy’s death. He is also the first composer granted operatic rights to The Leopard in over 50 years. The opera was commissioned by American Opera Projects, with funds provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and the Paul Underwood Charitable Trust.