The 60-Year Old “Dear John” Letter

As Erik walked home one freezing day, he stumbled on a wallet someone had lost in the street. He picked it up and looked inside to find some identification so he could call the owner. But the wallet contained only three dollars and a crumpled letter that looked as if it had been in there for years.

The envelope was worn and the only thing that was legible on it was the return address. He started to open the letter, hoping to find some clue. Then he saw the dateline–1938. The letter had been written almost sixty years ago.

It was written in a beautiful feminine handwriting on powder blue stationery with a little flower in the left-hand corner. It was a “Dear John” letter that told the recipient, whose name appeared to be Michael, that the writer could not see him any more because her mother forbade it.

Even so, she wrote that she would always love him. It was signed, Hannah.

It was a beautiful letter, but there was no way except for the name Michael, that the owner could be identified. Maybe if I called information, the operator could find a phone listing for the address on the envelope.

“Operator,” he began, “this is an unusual request. I’m trying to find the owner of a wallet that he found. Is there anyway you can tell me if there is a phone number for an address that was on an envelope in the wallet?”

She suggested he speak with her supervisor, who hesitated for a moment then said, “Well, there is a phone listing at that address, but I can’t give you the number.” She said, as a courtesy, she would call that number, explain my story and would ask them if they wanted her to connect me. He waited a few minutes and then she was back on the line. “I have a party who will speak with you.”

He asked the woman on the other end of the line if she knew anyone by the name of Hannah. She gasped, “Oh! We bought this house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah. But that was 30 years ago!”

“Would you know where that family could be located now?” he asked.

“I remember that Hannah had to place her mother in a nursing home some years ago,” the woman said. “Maybe if you got in touch with them they might be able to track down the daughter.”

She gave him the name of the nursing home and he called the number. They told me the old lady had passed away some years ago but they did have a phone number for where they thought the daughter might be living.

He thanked them and phoned. The woman who answered explained that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.

This whole thing was stupid, he thought to himself. Why was he making such a big deal over finding the owner of a wallet that had only three dollars and a letter that was almost 60 years old?

Nevertheless, he called the nursing home in which Hannah was supposed to be living and the man who answered the phone told me, “Yes, Hannah is staying with us. ”

Even though it was already 10 p.m., he asked if he could come by to see her. “Well,” he said hesitatingly, “if you want to take a chance, she might be in the day room watching television.”

He thanked him and drove over to the nursing home. The night nurse and a guard greeted me at the door. We went up to the third floor of the large building. In the day room, the nurse introduced me to Hannah.

She was a sweet, silver-haired old timer with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye.

He told her about finding the wallet and showed her the letter. The second she saw the powder blue envelope with that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and said, “Young man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with Michael.”

She looked away for a moment deep in thought and then said Softly, “I loved him very much. But I was only 16 at the time and my mother felt I was too young. Oh, he was so handsome. He looked like Sean Connery, the actor.”

“Yes,” she continued. “Michael Goldstein was a wonderful person. If you should find him, tell him I think of him often. And,” she hesitated for a moment, almost biting her lip, “tell him I still love him. You know,” she said smiling as tears began to well up in her eyes, “I never did marry. I guess no one ever matched up to Michael…”

Erik thanked Hannah and said goodbye. He took the elevator to the first floor and as he stood by the door, the guard there asked, “Was the old lady able to help you?”

He told him she had given him a lead. “At least he had a last name. But he thought he would let it go for a while. He spent almost the whole day trying to find the owner of this wallet.”

He had taken out the wallet, which was a simple brown leather case with red lacing on the side. When the guard saw it, he said, “Hey, wait a minute! That’s Mr. Goldstein’s wallet. I’d know it anywhere with that right red lacing. He’s always losing that wallet. I must have found it in the halls at least three times.”

“Who’s Mr. Goldstein?” he asked as his hand began to shake.

“He’s one of the old timers on the 8th floor. That’s Mike Goldstein’s wallet for sure. He must have lost it on one of his walks.”

He thanked the guard and quickly ran back to the nurse’s office. He told her what the guard had said. We went back to the elevator and got on. He prayed that Mr. Goldstein would be up.

On the eighth floor, the floor nurse said, “I think he’s still in the day room. He likes to read at night. He’s a darling old man.”

They went to the only room that had any lights on and there was a man reading a book. The nurse went over to him and asked if he had lost his wallet. Mr. Goldstein looked up with surprise, put his hand in his back pocket and said, “Oh, it is missing!”

This kind gentleman found a wallet and we wondered if it could be yours?”

He handed Mr. Goldstein the wallet and the second he saw it, he smiled with relief and said, “Yes, that’s it! It must have dropped out of my pocket this afternoon. I want to give you a reward.”

“No, thank you,” he said. “But I have to tell you something. I read the letter in the hope of finding out who owned the wallet.”

The smile on his face suddenly disappeared. “You read that letter?”

“Not only did I read it, I think I know where Hannah is.”

He suddenly grew pale. “Hannah? You know where she is? How is she? Is she still as pretty as she was? Please, please tell me,” he begged.

“She’s fine…just as pretty as when you knew her.” I said softly.

The old man smiled with anticipation and asked, “Could you tell me where she is? I want to call her tomorrow.” He grabbed his hand and said, “You know something, mister, I was so in love with that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended. I never married. I guess I’ve always loved her. ”

“Mr. Goldstein,” he said, “Come with me.”

They took the elevator down to the third floor. The hallways were darkened and only one or two little night-lights lit their way to the day room where Hannah was sitting alone watching the television. The nurse walked over to her.

“Hannah,” she said softly, pointing to Michael, who was waiting with him in the doorway. “Do you know this man?”

She adjusted her glasses, looked for a moment, but didn’t say a word. Michael said softly, almost in a whisper, “Hannah, it’s Michael. Do you remember me?”

She gasped, “Michael! I don’t believe it! Michael! It’s you! My Michael!” He walked slowly towards her and they embraced. The nurse and man left with tears streaming down their faces.

“See,” he said. “See how the Good Lord works! If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

About three weeks later Erik got a call at his office from the nursing home. “Can you break away on Sunday to attend a wedding? Michael and Hannah are going to tie the knot!”

It was a beautiful wedding with all the people at the nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration. Hannah wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful. Michael wore a dark blue suit and stood tall. They made him their best man.

The hospital gave them their own room and if you ever wanted to see a 76-year- old bride and a 79-year-old groom acting like two teenagers, you had to see this couple.

A perfect ending for a love affair that had lasted nearly 60 years.

Why Florida’s Surgeon General Is Not Recommending mRNA COVID Vaccines for Healthy Young Men

The transcript below is from an interview that can be seen on the Epoch Times website via This Link but is only available for viewing to Epoch Times subscribers.

It is a very interesting and revealing interview.

The transcript of the interview is provided below and offers a lot of valuable information that is being hidden from the public by the media.

Dr. Joseph Ladapo on Why He’s Not Recommending mRNA COVID Vaccines for Healthy, Young Men—‘People Deserve Honesty’


Below is a rush transcript of this American Thought Leaders episode from Oct 20, 2022. This transcript may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Jan Jekielek:
Dr. Joseph Ladapo, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Dr. Joseph Ladapo:
Thanks Jan. And thank you for taking time to speak with me. I’m looking forward to it.

Mr. Jekielek:
You have this wonderful new book out, which I just finished reading, Transcend Fear. We’ll dig into that in a moment. Before we go there, I want to talk about this new guidance that you’ve instituted in Florida. Essentially, you’re saying that under 39 men should not be getting these genetic vaccines. So tell me about how this all came about.

Dr. Ladapo:
Sure. The backdrop is that, as you know, and I think as any honest person would recognize, these last two years, there has not been room in the atmosphere for honesty about the vaccines. So it’s almost comical. Every now and then on Twitter, someone will put out these videos, and I’ll run into one of these videos where it’s showing the president or Dr. Fauci or Dr. Walensky saying that, you will not get COVID if you take these vaccines. These vaccines are going to stop you from transmitting the virus to someone else. Or playing on guilt. I think Dr. Fauci, I watched a video of him talking about how, you don’t want to be that person that is the person that transmits COVID 19 to someone else. And I’m paraphrasing, of course. His speech was imbued with much more manipulation in trying to guilt people into taking these vaccines.

And then it turns out that that was blatantly not true. And even, it was actually an issue independent of Delta. Delta made it worse. But the waning immunity, the fact that transmission wasn’t something that was tested in the primary clinical trials. It’s just been an atmosphere of tremendous manipulation, coercion, and dishonesty. So in that setting, evaluations of safety have been not at the level or to the degree they should have been, considering how widely these vaccine products were being pushed. So this is not to say there were no safety studies, there have been some. It is to say that there haven’t been enough of them. And when findings have come out that are unfavorable, they’ve received very little attention, with the exception of perhaps myocarditis.

So many Americans, probably almost every American, would be surprised to hear that, for example, these COVID 19 mRNA vaccines specifically, are associated with an increased risk of appendicitis. They’re associated with an increased risk of Bell’s palsy. They’re associated with an increased risk of shingles, which can be severe in some cases. They’re associated with changes in sperm motility and sperm function and sperm count. And most recently, we’re finding that they are present in breast milk. Even though an earlier study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that they were not in breast milk. And by the way, the reference for the increased risk of things like appendicitis and Bell’s palsy, et cetera, comes from a paper that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

So one of the things that I and other people did during the pandemic that distinguished us … we were talking about Dr. Bhattacharya earlier. Is that we tried to be honest and we called things out when they were not honest. And in my role as the Surgeon General of Florida, you better believe that I’m not going to stop doing the thing I’ve been doing during the entire pandemic just because I’m in this position. No, I’ve continued to prioritize safety, honesty, straight talk, acknowledgement of limitations, and communicating what I think is in the best interest of the public.

Mr. Jekielek:
I just want to briefly comment. I mean, you would think that someone taking on the role of Surgeon General of a state or of a country would feel more inclined to do all the things you just described, to prioritize those things, right?

Dr. Ladapo:
Yeah. Instead, they’re busy getting their story straight on, whether it’s no mask, or one mask, or two masks, in terms of the Surgeon General that preceded the current Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Adams, at one point was telling people not to wear masks and not to go out and get them. And then he said, you have to wear them all the time. And of course, we know how that went when eventually people were asked to wear two of them. And who knows, I don’t even remember how many they got up to in terms of their recommendations.

But no, you’re absolutely right. That’s what people deserve, honesty. They deserve transparency. They do not deserve to be treated as objects or means to an end that can just be manipulated or coerced. One of the things that I wanted to do was to provide more clarity about safety in the ways that I am able to in my role as Surgeon General and with the data that we have available in Florida.

Mr. Jekielek:
So I mean, just very briefly, if you can describe the study that you did and the conclusions. And I guess, the strength of the conclusions and the value of them from a scientific perspective.

Dr. Ladapo:
Sure. So this has been another interesting thing, in terms of how people have responded. And I think to understand the response, I think it’s helpful to look back at the entirety of the pandemic. So Dr. Bhattacharya, myself, others were, for example … for me it was as early as March, 2020. I was critical of the lockdowns. I stated that they were very unlikely to be effective. And for reasons that were obvious and were eventually demonstrated, you can’t do it forever. You have to open up, and the virus is going to spread more. Turns out, even during lockdowns, the virus was spreading. But that’s another issue.

Mr. Jekielek:
As people say, virus going to virus.

Dr. Ladapo:
Yeah, exactly. And when those types of opinions were voiced, there was outrage. Oh no, no, no. We have to do this … whatever. 10, 15 days, whatever it was, to stop the spread. And then we have to do it longer and all that. Later on, the masks. I, others, stated plainly that yes, this is a new virus. But we have a number of randomized clinical trials on community masking. In general, the conclusion is that it is an ineffective strategy. No, how could that be? No, he’s wrong. He’s killing people, they’re making things up. No, you have to do this. You’re killing grandma.

And of course, if you look at the pandemic and you look at the totality of the data and you look at the randomized clinical trials, that was obviously the correct conclusion. Later on, the vaccine mandates and passports. I and others said, ineffective strategy. Not going to stop the spread. No, that can’t be. This is what we need. The pandemic will never end if we don’t do this. Obviously, I and other doctors and scientists who reached that conclusion based on the totality of the data, were correct.

More recently, we issued guidance saying that it doesn’t make sense to give children this vaccine when it is not clear that if a child is healthy, they actually experience a health benefit. There’s a huge question about risk and benefits in children. I mean that is unequivocal with this virus. Outrage. I mean, I heard from every corner of our scientific community how that was supposedly the wrong call. But it obviously is the right call. Other countries have made similar recommendations at this point. And by the way, parents vote with their feet. I mean, the uptake of these child vaccines, COVID 19 mRNA vaccines has been abysmal. And that’s telling you what people believe in terms of the value they hold.

So here we find ourselves, again. We’ve done a study, we’ve used a method called a self-controlled case series. It’s actually a very powerful method. It’s not one that we’ve we developed or anything, but it’s one that’s been used in hundreds of studies. Hundreds of publications have used this to evaluate vaccine safety, to evaluate the safety of other medications. The strength of the method is that it is self-controlled. So the huge problem with evaluating anything about the effectiveness or safety of any medication once it’s outside of a clinical trial, is that confounding is a B-*-T-C-H. It is just extremely difficult to identify unbiased, unconfounded estimates when something is deployed in the community and different people with different risk factors and different preferences and different behaviors choose to or not to take that medication. It is very difficult to tease out the effects of the medication from the effects of the confounders.

The strength of the self-controlled case series is that you actually don’t have that problem. People are their own controls. And what we’ve seen, I saw on social media, indicated that most everyone didn’t understand the method. People were saying things about people’s risk factors, for example. Well, it’s self-controlled. So people’s risk factors are accounted for in the model. People were saying … raised other concerns about having another control group. No, it’s self-controlled. You’re actually looking at people and their own baseline risk and any incremental risk, benefit or anything that increases or decreases risk, associated with an exposure. In this case, we were looking at the COVID 19 vaccines.

So the intuition of this method … and as I mentioned it’s been used in hundreds of studies. Is that all you do, you look at people who have an exposure and have an outcome that you’re interested in. And you assess whether the distribution over time of the outcome is random. In other words, you wouldn’t think the exposure has anything to do with the outcome. Or whether it’s not random. In other words, perhaps the outcome is happening more after the exposure or it’s happening more later on. And what that tells you in this type of study design, is whether the exposure changes the likelihood of a person experiencing that outcome.

And that’s what we did. And we found a number of different things. The COVID 19 mRNA vaccinations is associated with an 84% increased risk in cardiac deaths among young men. We had other findings such as, for example, an overall reduction in all-cause mortality in older people over the age of 60. And also, an increase in cardiac mortality among men over 60. So they have more than one thing happening at once. But in young men from 18 to 39, it clearly was a signal for increased risk. So that was the main finding.

This is not the first study to find an increased risk of cardiovascular adverse outcomes with the COVID 19 vaccine, specifically the mRNA COVID 19 vaccines. For example, there was a study that was published in JAMA Open, one of the sub journals of JAMA, that looked at Scandinavian data. And there were a number of cardiovascular outcomes, primarily related to cerebral vascular disease … by the way, that also used the self-controlled case series model. That found increases in risk. The highest increase in risk, or one of the highest was inter-cerebral hemorrhage after the Moderna vaccination. And that was an increase of 119%, believe it or not. And it’s right there in the paper. In the appendices.

Mr. Jekielek:
These are incredibly significant signals.

Dr. Ladapo:
Oh, absolutely, yeah. The blessing, of course, is that it’s not a common outcome. So in other words, even though the increase is profound, the event is uncommon. But there are a number of events. Coronary artery disease, in that study, also increased after one of the mRNA COVID 19 vaccinations. Other cardiovascular outcomes increased in risks. Another study was a study that was published in Nature’s Journal of Scientific Reports. It found an association in Israel between the rollout of COVID 19 vaccines and acute cardiovascular events in young people. It’s not definitive, but it’s another piece of evidence.

And then of course, we’ve had a number of studies about myocarditis that show marked increases in risk. So there are a number of studies already. And actually, there’s a fourth one that I should mention, which is a study that the FDA did, but has been very quiet in terms of their communication about. But it’s actually available online. So the FDA has used Medicare data and they found a signal of increased risk of acute myocardial infarction. In other words, heart attacks, specifically associated with the mRNA COVID 19 vaccines. So there are a number of studies that are indicating that these vaccines, mRNA COVID 19 vaccines increase the risk of adverse cardiovascular and cardiac events. And we just added to that with another one.

Mr. Jekielek:
I can’t help but think of this study published fairly recently by Dr. Aseem Malhotra from the UK, a cardiologist. He essentially had made the recommendation … he looked at a whole bunch of evidence that was present. Including this study that found one in 800 incidents of adverse effects and so forth. His recommendation in the end was that these genetic vaccines should be paused. The deployment of them should be paused until further study is done, because there’s just a lot of adverse effects. What do you think of that study?

Dr. Ladapo:
There’s never been a time, certainly in my lifetime, where so many, essentially mainstream doctors, doctors who practice good medicine and were respected in the field, are bolting the mainstream message about these COVID 19 vaccines. And that in itself should tell you a tremendous amount. It should tell you that whatever is happening with these vaccines is unlike any other medical issues, probably that we have ever faced. In medicine, the history of medicine, there’s a great book called The Social Transformation of Medicine. Medicine went from essentially a very disorganized field to a much more organized field in terms of political organization, concentration of power, organization of how people would actually become doctors and be considered to be among their peers and that sort of thing.

And that period of time has seen a lot of conflict, people with different perspectives about how the field of medicine should be. But nothing has ever looked like this in terms of individuals who were literally previously considered to be completely mainstream, just saying things that are not mainstream, and are sometimes even costing them jobs and repute and other important things. So he’s an example of that. A doctor who, as far as I know, was extremely mainstream, is extremely respected and all of a sudden he is screaming alarm. So I think, and I hope that people recognize that that has meaning. Just the fact that that’s happening has meaning.

And in terms of specific recommendations for specific groups, what I always try to do, and what I will always do is stay close to the data. Certainly in young men, the data … while our study is not definitive, and we never claimed it was. The fact that there is so much evidence that is consistent with our findings, you obviously should not be giving mRNA COVID 19 vaccines to young men at this point in the pandemic.

Are there potential exceptions? Sure. People who have received organ transplants. The calculus is always different in them. Although, truly, they may benefit more from Evusheld, which is the antibody treatment that has … I think it lasts maybe six months or maybe a year. But I think around six months. But they’re very different. Those are special populations. But in the general population, it is obviously a bad call to continue charging forward in the face of the evidence that we have thus far.

Mr. Jekielek:
There’s some evidence to suggest that some of these vaccine harms actually happen longer than the time period over which you looked in your study. And I guess what I’m curious about is are you thinking about expanding this study and looking at a longer tail afterwards to look at harms that might have happened 3, 5, 7 months down the road?

Dr. Ladapo:
That’s a really good point. So the model can only estimate what you tell it is happening in nature, and the way we’ve structured the model, we’re telling it that there’s a 30 day … 28 day period of increased risk. And after that, risk is assumed to be baseline. But if it turns out that the risk period is actually prolonged, our model would be underestimating the magnitude of risk. Fortunately, we have very strong biostatisticians and epidemiologists.

I think that you would just want to be very careful about how you change the model, because you enter a domain that’s more, not hypothesis generating, but highly investigational. So you may find very important things, but you are also increasing your likelihood of being misled, or finding a false positive or false finding. So I think it requires some more thought about how to go about that. But it is an important question, and Americans should recognize that this is something the CDC should have been doing. The FDA, as I mentioned, has done it quietly, publishing reports.

I’m sure that 99 out of a 100 viewers are completely unaware of this. The FDA has found in Medicare that these mRNA COVID 19 vaccines are associated with a … very consistently, and in the booster. With an increased risk of acute myocardial infarction. But I think that one just wants … one needs to be very thoughtful about approaching the safety questions beyond the primary models.

Mr. Jekielek:
One of the things I understand is in certain data sets, where you have to pool people … these people are vaccinated, these people are unvaccinated. These people had this adverse outcome, these people did not have this adverse outcome. What I understand is, at least in some data sets, it’s people were only marked as vaccinated only two weeks after they actually were vaccinated, which has created this confounding variable. I don’t know if this might affect your study or not, but I’m aware that it has affected other studies that have looked at this.

Dr. Ladapo:
So normally in clinical trials, we have something, a concept that I’m sure you’re familiar with called, intention to treat. The idea is just that once you’re randomized to receive some intervention, the clock starts ticking. So everything that happens after that is attributed to your randomization arm in the clinical trial. Well, vaccines are treated differently, in general. And the norm tends to be that you don’t start the clock until the vaccine is thought to have had the effect that it’s going to have.

I think that it’s not always appropriate to use that. I understand the rationale for using it for estimating vaccine effectiveness. Essentially, it’s the optimal estimate. But in our study we didn’t do that. So our study started because it wasn’t about efficacy, we were looking at safety. And safety starts as soon as a person is exposed.

Mr. Jekielek:
And it’s fascinating that it’s been used in reverse. I have to ask you another question. This is actually from your book, and this was one of the most fascinating things I found in there. You described as a budding medical student, the way you were taught about vaccines and their efficacy was very, very different than, frankly, the entire rest of the body of knowledge that you were learning. I mean, that was almost like a kind of in indoctrination. So can you expand on that briefly?

Dr. Ladapo:
Yeah. Yeah, and that is the case. And it’s part of the reason we’re seeing so much irrational behavior now. Because there’s an expansive degree of indoctrination among health professionals, among individuals who do research in public health and in health policy, and clinically as physicians. It wasn’t really something that I appreciated until in fact, this pandemic. And what I describe is the fact that when we learn about vaccines, or medications in general, there’s usually the normal way you learn about the medication. You have your pharmacology, you have your pharmacodynamics. You have your studies of mechanisms, you have data about effectiveness and safety. And it’s fairly neutral.

Medications that work well, work well. Medications that are riskier, medications like Amiodarone, for example … which certainly has a role in some clinical scenarios. But has a fairly impressive safety profile in terms of the risks associated with it. That’s acknowledged. And the medication is the medication, it’s not a deity. With vaccines. They are treated instead as something that is inherently good, or inherently benevolent. In general, risks are rare or essentially absent. And when individuals feel individuals who choose not to participate in vaccine programs are essentially bad people, I mean, there’s a value judgment that is absent from every other medication in medicine.

For example, if you have heart disease, if you have ischemic heart disease, you should be taking a statin. Statins reduce the risk of having another heart attack and dying and having a cardiac death. But individuals, you may question the judgment of a patient with ischemic heart disease who chooses not to take a statin, but you don’t consider that person a bad person. That is not the case with vaccines. The result, which I saw and really didn’t think much of until the pandemic, is doctors, pediatricians who refuse to see families who either aren’t participating in the vaccine program, or are participating in it, but at their own pace. So in other words, maybe they spread the vaccines out, maybe they choose to have some, but not all of them.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no cardiologists who refuse to see patients who don’t take a statin. They’re no primary care doctors who refuse to see patients who decide they don’t want to treat their high blood pressure with medications. That is a direct result of the indoctrination that health professionals and scientists in the health fields receive at their medical schools, in their schools of public health, and other health related fields. And if your interest is public health, indoctrination will never be the path toward enlightenment and good decision making.

Mr. Jekielek:
There’s about 15 other questions I have at this point, but we only have so much time to sit here. Just tell me a little bit about your background as a medical doctor, as a physician, as a scientist, as a university professor. Just that whole picture so people can understand where you’re coming from.

Dr. Ladapo:
So I went to college at Wake Forest University, I was a student athlete there. And then, was very lucky and got into Harvard for medical school. So I went up to Boston from North Carolina. And while I was in medical school, I’ve always had an interest in policy, I applied to the Kennedy School, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and their masters in public policy program. I was fortunate to get in. I did that for a year. I was always a science guy and a math guy. I’d never taken an economics class. I took an economics class for the first time at the Kennedy School, and I took another one. And I loved it. I mean, it just really spoke to me.

Microeconomics is like a language about how people make decisions. Maximizing their interests, their preferences, and the setting of constraints. And it just really spoke to me. I eventually applied to the PhD program in health policy as a result of this. I ended up doing that. I finished medical school, I finished the PhD program. I went on to do a residency in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. And after that, I took my first faculty position at NYU in New York City. I was there for five years. I got my first NIH grant there. Then moved to UCLA. I then got my second, third, fourth and fifth NIH grants there. And continued to do clinical research, took care of patients in the hospital. And I was tenured, actually, in 2020 during the pandemic.

So that’s the main background. Of course, then I came to Florida and now I’m faculty at the University of Florida. And most of my research has been in the area of cardiovascular disease. I’ve also done a lot of work in health economics.

Mr. Jekielek:
Just recently, I told my staff on this show that everyone needs to read Thomas Sowell’s, Basic Economics. The reason I just say that is because he focuses on looking at things from the perspective of incentive structures, instead of from the perspective of goals. And if you do that, you can actually make sense of a great many things. And that’s what I …

Dr. Ladapo:
This is true. This is true.

Mr. Jekielek:
That’s what I’m hearing. And I’ve been thinking about this a lot, because that’s a paradigm shift. It helped create a paradigm shift in my thinking. And I can understand why, I think, why you’re so interested and you became so interested in economics.

This is the thing I wanted to ask you. So in public health, it’s always about cost benefit, right? It’s always about cost benefit. Indeed, this is the reason why you made the guidance you made, right? It’s because the costs are so much greater than the benefits. Even though it’s not the definitive study, as you said, right?

Dr. Ladapo:
Yeah. It’s certainly likely to be the case that the costs exceed the benefits. Not definitive, but likely enough that is the appropriate decision at this time.

Mr. Jekielek:
Right. How is it that we forgot about costs and benefits over the last few years?

Dr. Ladapo:
I think that is a very good question. And that is the trillion dollar question, maybe. And truly I don’t understand it, it’s so obvious. For some people it was always very clear. Again, to bring up Dr. Bhattacharya, Martin Kulldorff, the Great Barrington Declaration. It was very clear the school closures were an incredibly costly intervention. And now, of course, where we’re starting to see the fallout of that. And unfortunately, based on prior research, that fallout will extend through lifetimes. So not only the lifetime of individuals who fell behind. Early childhood educational outcomes are predictive of income and health, long term, but it’s also contributing to the health outcomes and the life outcomes of their children.

But this dysfunction, with being able to calmly, coolly and in a way that is free of bias, evaluate risks and benefits, I don’t understand it. Sometimes I hypothesize that the politics of the pandemic and the fact that people do get very invested, people tend to get very invested in their politics, is what might be behind the confusion and the inability to see clearly. And I think that probably contributes, but I think it’s even more than that and I don’t understand it.

Mr. Jekielek:
Let’s jump to something in your book. You describe a lot of challenges in your life, and a lot of anxiety and fear. And that was manifesting in your family. I think you’re very transparent about many things in the book. It’s actually very touching, frankly, to read about.

And at some point, I think your wife steps in and says, look, something’s got to change. I’ve got something you need to try. And you give it a shot. And in the process, heal yourself. And then right in time to be able to take this perspective. So what happened here?

Dr. Ladapo:
So I was driving my poor wife nuts. My poor wife, because of the emotional problems and burdens that I carried and brought into our relationship, and eventually into the lives of our kids. And that was a long process in terms of the evolution of that with my wife, and her trying to help me in different ways. And she helped me tremendously, but she was out of steam. Her tank was on empty. And I, unfortunately, was still light years away from where I needed to be to be free of those burdens. To be open and light and heart-centered and alive and present.

And fortunately, she found a guy, his name’s Christopher Maher. And fortunately I worked with him, and life has never been the same since. And fortunately it happened before the pandemic, otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting here right now. Because it would’ve been impossible for me to do all the things I did during the pandemic.

Mr. Jekielek:
You have what seems to be a great relationship with your wife, and obviously a very caring, loving individual. I love your description of the moment where you get the offer to become surgeon general. You have a very, very well established life in LA and you expect there to be some pushback, I guess. And you say to your wife, hey, I just got this call. And she’s like, you should do it.

Dr. Ladapo:
Yes. That’s exactly … yeah. I’m picturing right now. I remember I walked into the kitchen, my wife’s back was to me, she had just come from, maybe a grocery store or something, or running some errands, and she was walking into the kitchen. And I was like, oh, honey. I got a call from Governor DeSantis’ office. Honey, they asked me if I would be interested in being their surgeon general. And she just snapped around, and she looked like someone had just whispered in her ear and it was something she didn’t even know she was waiting to hear, but she just heard it. And she just right there knew that I should do it. And so that was a surprise.

And you’re absolutely right. We had actually, believe it or not, we had just moved into a house. I mean, we found something, it was a gem. It was in West LA, it had a backyard. And that was really the primary reason we were moving out of our condo, because it seemed to be no end in sight with the crazy school mask stuff at LA, which my wife and I would never participate in because it’s an evil agenda in terms of trying to get these masks on kids and trying to normalize it. We were never going to participate in that. And we needed more space with three boys. More outdoor space, specifically. So we had just moved into a house in West LA, great location, great outdoor space. There were even deer in the neighborhood. And other wildlife. And we were probably 70% unpacked.

And I was tenured at UCLA. I had a handful of clinical trials. Many of my colleagues weren’t being very nice to me. But if you do your work and you do good work, there’s not that much substantively that they can do to you, other than not invite you to parties, I guess, and that kind of thing. So I didn’t think I would move, and I didn’t think my wife would be interested in moving, considering we literally, we had our roots there. But without hesitation, that’s exactly what she said we should do.

Mr. Jekielek:
I just, it really spoke to me personally, because I’ve had a few experiences like that. My wife likes to think things over, typically. It’s usually, okay, let’s think about that. But the few times when she’s just been, snap, [inaudible 00:38:30] definitely the right to do.

Dr. Ladapo:
And I think that there’s actually wisdom in that, when something does snap like that. That’s our inner guides telling us the direction to go.

Mr. Jekielek:
Well, okay, that’s interesting. Let’s talk about the inner guides, because you refer to that in the book. And that’s not necessarily something even many people are aware of.

Dr. Ladapo:
Yeah. So I would say that one of the things about working with Christopher Maher back in December 2019, is that it opened me up to receive more of what is around me in the world. And prior to that … I think it might be hard for many people to imagine this because they may not have this experience. But I was unable to emotionally connect with other living beings, with a few exceptions. My wife being one of those exceptions. And my kids, but even that was stunted. And really with my wife, the only reason it happened was because we fell in love. I didn’t know it. I fell in love with her without knowing it, through our conversations on the phone. She was in a different city. Had she been in the same city, things would not have been the same because I would’ve been wrapped up in what I thought things should look like and be, and things like that.

But instead we were on the phone, and I had no intention of doing anything but talking. And I fell in love on the phone from our conversations. And so therefore, I was able to emotionally connect with her. And of course, one of the things about love is that it pushes to the surface everything that’s not working in your life in terms of your emotions. And so that started or prompted our journey. Because falling in love meant that all of these things that were preventing me from doing the thing that is, in a way, the most natural thing you can do, which is to emotionally connect with another human being, all of those things came to surface. Why can’t I do that? And it wasn’t something that I was conscious of as a problem, it was how things were. So I thought that’s how things are, and that’s normal.

So working with Christopher … and just to really just summarize very briefly the kind of work that he does. It’s based on the concept, and really the reality of chi and flow. Things that are not in the conscious domain entirely, but affect our being and how we show up in the world. And what his work is, is a combination of physical activities, physical exercises, isometric, concentric, eccentric contractions that change how your muscles exist, how parts of your body exist. And in doing so, changed the ability of chi to flow through your body. And it was not a concept that … I had no familiarity. I would never have even believed it was possible. The first day I worked with him, I thought it was nonsense. It cost a lot of money. And I went home and I thought, this is not going to work. I’m wasting my money, I’m wasting my time.

And what happened was, I went to sleep … got home. Did the routine with the kids, Brianna, went to bed. And I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt different. And I wasn’t even sure … this was after the first day. I wasn’t sure. I still remember waking up and I was like, what is that? There was a sensation of something not being present anymore. And in its place, some lightness and smoothness. And in my heart area. And it just felt strange. Went back to bed, and then I got up in the morning. And that morning … our kids were smaller then. And everyone who’s a parent … now our kids are nine, six, and the three year old will be four in a month. But back then they were almost three years younger.

So there was a lot of chaos in the household. Because smaller kids, I mean, it’s a big challenge with little kids and trying to get them to … okay, time to eat. Okay, time to shower. Okay, time to do this. So I was a stress case every morning trying to get them ready with my wife, and then get in the car, get them dropped off, get to my office. I was a stress case every day. And that morning I told my wife, honey, we’re not out the door yet. Things aren’t … not like everything’s ready. But I’m not stressed. I’m not falling apart, I’m not stressed out. And she had some disbelief because this was over a decade into our relationship, and it’s been a struggle every step of the way because of my problems.

But I just told her, I just don’t feel stressed. I usually feel really stressed right now, honey, and I don’t feel stressed. And she’s like, good, honey. Good, baby. And I dropped them off, got in an Uber and had … believe it or not, but it’s true. The first conversation with another adult that wasn’t Brianna, in which I emotionally connected with that individual. And it blew my socks off. I mean I was …

Thanks. Thank you.

Mr. Jekielek:
It’s such a powerful experience.

Dr. Ladapo:
Thank you. Could I have a tissue please? Thanks.

I don’t want you guys not to get anything. Please show the whole thing. It’s not … everything. All this, all of it, please. Yeah. So I was in the Uber, and the driver was a nice guy. He had a daughter, and I think a son also. And we talked about the kids and we talked about his life. And I was there and I was with him. And I felt him and I felt his feelings and his experience and I felt close to him. And I was blown away that it never happened to me before. And when I got to Christopher’s condo in Marina del Ray in Los Angeles, I told Christopher about the fact that this had happened. And I said, Christopher, if we stopped right now, it would be worth it. It would be worth every penny I have to be able to have this ability. To be able to connect with … I was like, we could stop right now.

But fortunately we didn’t stop, and it only got better. So part of working with him and getting rid of the trauma of and the stress that was stored in my body, in different parts of my body … with chi, there are different channels. And the channels do different things and they connect to your organs in different ways. They oversee different parts of our being, from our inner strength to our vision. To the parts that control whether we are fearful or fearless. Whether we’re loving or withholding. Different channels connect with them and oversee them. And we worked on a bunch of different ones. And there was still more to do. After that week, we worked together and we’ve since worked together a few more weeks. And basically once a year I work with Christopher to access more of me.

As you do that, your ability to see more, and not just with your eyes, it’s your ability to feel more. Your ability to … Christopher calls it, he calls it true body intelligence. But basically, our bodies are extremely intelligent. And more intelligent than, pretty much almost every living person accesses. But you can access more of that if you’re able to get more chi flowing through your body, through different parts of your body. And that’s how things are supposed to be. We’re supposed to be in flow, but most, nearly 99.9% of us are not in flow because we’ve got all this stuff that’s literally in our bodies preventing us from doing that.

And so as you get rid of more of that stuff, you have more access to more knowledge and more absorption and appreciation and identification of what is around you. Both stuff that you can see with your eyes, and things that you can’t see with your eyes. And the voice of God runs through all of us. And there are angels and guides that help direct our lives. And that is part of what I fortunately have more access to. My wife has always actually … and there are many people on this earth that just have more connection to that. That just have more intuition in those areas and it’s just a gift that they have from God. My wife happens to be one of those people, and there are other people like that. Of course, my wife having that intuition and insight is how she got me to the right guy to help me.

Mr. Jekielek:
So we have some, let’s call it analogous experiences. And thank you for sharing, I guess, so thoroughly here, on this with me. I’m truly honored, actually. You actually talk about this, I think in your first prescription, is the making better public health decisions. Part one is to the individual, right?

Dr. Ladapo:

Mr. Jekielek:
That was probably one of the most important parts of the book to me. I feel like we live in a society where people have forgotten that.

Dr. Ladapo:
Oh, that’s for sure. That is absolutely for sure. That people think that it’s all about the degrees or the titles or other things that are external to you. In crisis, in emergencies, the most important thing is you. What you bring with you to that emergency, to that crisis.

So I appreciate that you appreciated that, Jan, because it is the case. That is the single most important thing, to make good decisions in high stress environments. How much work you’ve done on yourself to maximize the authenticity of who you are prior to walking into confronting that crisis.

Mr. Jekielek:
I can’t help but think, as we speak right now in Florida, in Orlando, there’s a conference on treatment of both what’s called long COVID, basically spike related disease, or vaccine injury. Those people that are exploring how to do this. Treatment in any way other than vaccination has been something that has been dramatically suppressed throughout the pandemic. I think it would be an understatement, almost.

Again, how is it that in this one instance we forgot about treatment, or just decided not to recommend treatment? When just from what I’ve learned from many doctors I’ve spoken with, it’s just, treatment is what you would try to do when there is disease.

Dr. Ladapo:
Yeah. Well, this actually ties in very well with everything that we’ve been discussing. So one of the benefits, and not just for oneself, but really for all around the person, of really working on yourself so that you clear out as much garbage from your emotional, spiritual, physical being when encountering a crisis like the COVID 19 pandemic, is that you can see more clearly. And this tragedy with treatment is just another abject example of that. So back in November 2020, around November 2020, I wrote an article about the fact that everyone knew at that point that we were going to have a surge of cases as winter came. What I wrote was that, okay, we’re going to have a lot of cases. We know how to do science. What we should do is make the best use of the fact that we’re going to have a lot of cases by immediately running prospective studies of high risk people who test positive with potential candidates for therapy.

Because as you recall, there were thousands and thousands and thousands of cases daily. Eventually many, many, many thousands. We were over a 100,000, as a nation. Enrolling patients, testing different medications, whatever plausible medications that an investigator thought ought to be tested and getting answers about COVID 19 hospitalizations and COVID 19 deaths and the relationship, if any, between that and medication and those outcomes. We could have had that in a few weeks. We could have had damn near definitive answers within a few weeks. And that’s exactly what should have been done, had the goal been to save lives. That was the best thing that we could have done at that point.

Mr. Jekielek:
Still is. Yeah.

Dr. Ladapo:
Right, yeah. And the dynamics have changed, but then the case fatality rate was much higher. Many people, I mean many, many, many people unfortunately died that winter. Many, many, many people’s lives could have been saved instead. So when I wrote that, fortunately, it actually connected me with a few people like Steve Kirsch, who at that time, had just finished a … or funded a clinical trial of Fluvoxamine. It was a small trial, but it yielded favorable results. That was obviously one of the medications that should have been tested in a larger setting. And there were other medications. I personally, from my review of the evidence, I think that early outpatient use of hydroxychloroquine, it likely reduces COVID 19 hospitalizations and other severe outcomes by probably at least 20% from the randomized clinical trials that I’ve looked at.

Again, basically the main finding is, for most of those trials report a reduction where the reduction isn’t statistically significant, but the reduction tends to be in the same direction. You do a meta-analysis. It’s possible, maybe likely that you will reach a significant result. There was a lot of attention on Ivermectin at that time. I was less familiar with that medication, but obviously that would’ve been another candidate for testing. Inhaled budesonide would’ve been another candidate for testing. There were some other agents, I think even some that were being used in Asian countries that potentially could be candidates for testing. But the most important part of that whole thing is that we test. We find out, we get answers. And you use those answers in real time to save lives.

It’s so obvious, it’s almost blinding. But instead, because of how screwed up so many people were, things that should have been obvious if you were just looking very cleanly, not caring about politics, not caring about whether you made the wrong decision. Not being fearful of death is such that it’s paralyzing and leads you to think that the only answer is to hide in your house and tell other people to do the same thing. And that way everything will be okay when you’re free of all of those things, you can see more clearly. But instead, unfortunately, people have been so entangled by things that are really not aligned with, I’m sure what they would really want, if they chose before any of this happened, what their highest values would be or what their principles would be in the setting of confronting an emergency.

So instead, terrible decisions were made, treatment was stigmatized, instead of being just another thing that you look at and see if it helps people. And folks were told the wrong thing. And many, many people died as a result, that would still be alive today.

Mr. Jekielek:
You just reminded me, this is from an article, Fear and Loathing in COVID America, that you wrote. Good title. “Fear Stoked by the Press gave birth to the dogma that preventing COVID 19 cases isn’t an issue only of health, but of morality. Even if prevention comes at the cost of livelihoods and duties, or increases in poverty and domestic violence or sacrifices in children’s educational and emotional wellbeing.” I mean, that sentence really encapsulated what you were just talking about, about just the whole pandemic. But also the fact that the media played such a significant role.

Dr. Ladapo:
Oh, gosh. I would watch the news every day, and mostly with disgust. So much of the media did such a disservice to the principles of honesty, of honest communication, of informative communication. It’s difficult to even wrap one’s mind around it. So many things that were said, including all of the propaganda about masks. All the propaganda about the notion that when people contracted COVID 19, it was because they let their guard down. There was so much nonsense circulating in the media and misleading people, that I don’t even know where to start in terms of an accounting of it.

It’s unfortunate. It seems like it’s something that they’ve gotten away with, haven’t really been held accountable for. When people are held accountable for things, it helps prevent those things from happening again. But so far, those things can just happen again.

Mr. Jekielek:
As we finish up, your book title … I’m going to read it again. Transcend Fear: A Blueprint for Mindful Leadership and Public Health. I mean, I hope that our viewers can see from this interview that your book and your thinking, I guess, lives up to its title, which I certainly believe it does. And people say that courage is contagious. And reading your book, I think it gave me a little more courage, I think. I mean that seriously. And I just subtly, I noticed that at the end. I thought, this is so straightforward.

And as we talk here, so many of us are so careful about not wanting to offend the sensibility of the so many people out there who simply just don’t have good information. And this is difficult. It’s a bit paralyzing. People have this in their families, people have it in the workplaces. I mean, never mind the people that have been ostracized. So I guess as we finish, my question to you is what do you recommend to people who are thinking these thoughts that I’m just sharing right now?

Dr. Ladapo:
Well, I’m really happy to hear that you felt more courage after reading it. That meaningful to me and that makes me very happy that that happened. Indeed, we are all courageous beings. It’s the stuff that we pick up in terms of the stressors and the effect that different experiences have on us that can get in the way of that. And I think that what I would say, I wrote the book because I love people. I love each and every individual. I want folks to be happy and to be free of burdens.

And I think that what I would say is for people whose voice is calling them to do something or to resolve something or to achieve something that they want. That has to do with them becoming more aligned with who they are, more authentic, freer of the burdens and the things that we all pick up during this life. I hope it speaks with them and I hope they listen to their voice and their intuition and they follow that.

Mr. Jekielek:
Well, Dr. Joe Ladapo, such a pleasure to have you on the show.

Dr. Ladapo:
Thanks. Thank you very much, Jan. Thank you.

Mr. Jekielek:
Thank you all for joining Surgeon General Joe Ladapo and me on this episode of American Thought Leaders. I’m your host, Jan Jekielek.