The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Tag: ivermectin

Greene Touts Her 'Common Ground' With Anti-Semite Farrakhan

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who repeatedly has used Nazi and Holocaust rhetoric and has been labeled antisemitic on Monday declared she has found "common ground" with the hate group Nation of Islam, founded by the far right wing extremist, anti-LGBTQ activist, and anti-semite Louis Farrakhan.

Read Now Show less

Why Modern Americans Are Behaving Like Medieval Peasants

Americans are currently experiencing one of the most peculiar public episodes of my lifetime. Amid a deadly worldwide disease epidemic, many people are behaving like medieval peasants: alternately denying the existence of the plague, blaming an assortment of imaginary villains, or running around seeking chimerical miracle cures.

Feed store Ivermectin? I've administered it to horses, cows and dogs. But to my wife? No thank you. It says right on the label that it's not for human consumption. But at least you won't die of heartworm.

Donald Trump's idea of injecting bleach somehow never caught on, although one Florida family (where else?) was prosecuted for fraud after making a bundle peddling the stuff as medicine through their church. The charges were Federal. I'm only surprised Florida's governor didn't award them a medal.

Incapable of dealing with reality, too many exist in an odd state of denial. In essence, as a friend observed recently, "millions of Americans are engaged in a deeply weird suicide lottery."

Strangest of all, of course, is that a genuine miracle cure does exist. A scientific miracle that is: vaccines with the capacity to bring the pandemic to an end. Shackled by ignorance and paralyzed by fear, however, millions of our fellow citizens have refused to take it.

Propagandized by opportunists and madmen, and at war with everything known about communicable diseases since the life of Louis Pasteur (1822-95), many have taken refuge in humanity's most basic pre-rational instinct: tribalism.

And the tribe most Covid Fraidy Cats have chosen is Trumpist Republicanism.

Not all Republicans, of course. But far too many.

"No vaccine for us, we're Republicans." Anything to "own the Libs." Propagandized by the (fully-vaccinated) gang at Fox News—Tucker, Laura, Sean and the rest are all immunized as a condition of employment—millions of self-declared "conservatives" appear determined to defy reason, science and basic common sense to the end.

Even Trump himself took the shot, although when he mentioned it to an Alabama crowd, they booed, and he's since shut up about it.

As a direct consequence, the United States leads the developed world in Covid-19 deaths by astonishing amounts. America's daily Covid mortality rate is three times greater than the United Kingdom's, and four times that of France. As for the rest of the NATO countries, Canada, Germany and Italy currently have Covid death rates a bit lower than one per million of total population. The United States rate is fully SIX TIMES higher, and rising sharply.

In short, it's a self-inflicted wound.

Remember when we Americans prided ourselves upon our common sense practicality, our can-do ability to solve problems together?

That was then. As for now, well…

CNN's Jake Tapper gave Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves a hard time recently about the fact that his state not only leads the nation in Covid mortality, but damn near leads the world. Only Peru among the world's nations has a higher per capita death rate than Mississippi.

Needless to say, the state also has among the lowest vaccination rates. Not for nothing have Arkansans long said "Thank God for Mississippi," on the grounds that whatever embarrasses us here is worse over there.

Tapper asked Reeves what he planned to do about it.

"Deaths unfortunately are a lagging indicator," Reeves said, an unresponsive non-sequitur. He appeared no more capable of being embarrassed than a cow. He recently boasted that Mississippians don't fear death because they believe in the afterlife.

The Mississippi governor was stung because of something President Biden said recently about his fierce opposition to his mandating OSHA to require that workers in large companies get vaccinated as a matter of public safety.

"In Mississippi, children are required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, and more," the president pointed out. "These are state requirements. But in the midst of a pandemic that has already taken over 660,000 lives, I propose a requirement for COVID vaccines and the governor of that state calls it 'a tyrannical-type move'?"

He repeated himself for emphasis: "A tyrannical-type move?!"

Partly, vaccine resistance stems from sheer ignorance. On Fox News and elsewhere, people have been duped by opportunists to think vaccines can kill you, make you sterile, implant microchips in your blood, alter your DNA, or even turn your body into a large magnet. It appears that when people are frightened, no lie is too crazy to find believers.

This stuff isn't just irrational; it's anti-rational.

Of course, few actually believe that stuff. It's more a matter of who's making the argument. If Joe Biden, a known Democrat, is behind it, then the Red Tribe's against it. Even if it means risking death.

Yours, and of more interest to an "elitist" like me, mine.

Republicans invoke "state's rights," which is what they always say when their position is indefensible.

Sometimes, an element of force is required.

Fuming Howard Stern Calls Out Joe Rogan And Anti-Vax ‘Idiots’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Right-wing libertarian comedian/podcast host Joe Rogan recently became infected with COVID-19 after refusing to take a vaccine, and he is now crediting the drug Ivermectin with his recovery. But veteran shock jock Howard Stern is saying that Rogan should have received a COVID-19 vaccine in the first place.

Although Ivermectin is primarily used as an anti-parasitic drug for animals, conspiracy theorists have been claiming that animal-grade Ivermectin should be used to prevent or treat COVID-19. But medical experts, including immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, have been warning that taking animal-grade Ivermectin could be dangerous; in fact, Fauci strongly advises against it. But the 54-year-old Rogan is claiming that Ivermectin was beneficial for him after he was infected with COVID-19.

Mediaite's Ken Meyer explains, "Upon his recovery, Rogan lashed out at CNN and other critics who called out his promotions of an unproven COVID remedy. This was noticed by Stern, who remarked that Rogan could have also gotten a vaccine — which Stern heralded as a 'cure' — and skipped the whole ordeal."

On his show, Stern — whose program airs on SiriusXM — told long-time co-host Robin Quivers, "I heard Joe Rogan was saying, 'What are you busting my balls (for)? I took horse dewormer, and a doctor gave it to me.' Well, a doctor would also give you a vaccine; so, why take horse-dewormer?"

Stern was vehemently critical of anti-vaxxers during the broadcast, slamming them as "idiots" who are "anti-science."

The 67-year-old shock jock told Quivers, "There's never been one that said, 'I'm so glad I refused. I'm so happy that I can't breathe. This is a wonderful way to die. It was worth it because I didn't take the vaccine.'"

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of U.S.-based adults have been at least partially vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus. Nonetheless, many U.S. hospitals are being overwhelmed by unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, and Stern obviously no patience with anti-vaxxers at this point.

"We have no time for idiots in this country anymore," Stern angrily told Quivers. "We don't want you. We want you to all, either go to the hospital, and stay home, die there with your COVID. Don't take the cure, but don't clog up our hospitals with your COVID when you finally get it. Stay home, don't bother with science, it's too late. Go fuck yourself — we just don't have time for you."

Debate Over Ivermectin Obscures Biggest Pandemic Problem

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Several national news outlets stepped on a rake over the weekend by credulously parroting an Oklahoma TV news station's apparently bogus report that the state's rural hospitals were flooded with people who overdosed while taking the veterinary form of the anti-parasite drug ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. After the story was debunked, conversation on Twitter quickly turned to the practices of mainstream journalists, as well as to whether mocking conservatives for taking so-called "horse paste" is effective or counterproductive in getting them to take COVID-19 vaccines.

I think journalists should be much more skeptical about thinly sourced news stories and try to report them independently rather than simply accepting the accounts as true. But these debates also strike me as tangential to an issue that is more directly driving public health outcomes: Influential conservative media figures have spent much of this year assailing the effort to vaccinate Americans while falsely suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe and ineffective, and their sabotage has been very successful in convincing Republicans not to get shots of potentially lifesaving drugs.

In this particular case, those influential conservatives have been touting ivermectin to their audiences as a COVID-19 treatment they could take instead of the vaccines, even as the relevant health agencies and the drug's manufacturer say there's no evidence that it works. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning following reports that some people had overdosed while taking the more-concentrated version of the drug intended for horses, rather than the formulation prescribed by doctors for humans.

Who's been talking up ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment? An incomplete list includes Fox hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Maria Bartiromo, Brian Kilmeade, Greg Gutfeld, and Will Cain, along with regular network guests Drs. Harvey Risch, George Fareed, and Ramin Oskoui; influential podcasters Joe Rogan and Bret Weinstein; an array of personalities on One America News Network; and PragerU founder Dennis Prager. Discussions of the drug are also rampant on social media platforms including Facebook.

Others on the right are spending their energy developing anti-anti-ivermectin positions. They may not be explicitly defending its use as a COVID-19 treatment, but they are focusing their fire on its critics.

All of these people have vastly more influence with right-wing vaccine skeptics than anyone on Twitter, in the mainstream press, or in the public health community does. The result of their commentary is a strong correlation between partisanship and interest in ivermectin, one that mirrors the correlation between partisanship and rejection of vaccination.

And the right-wing campaign against vaccination is ongoing.

Fox hosts have now turned to decrying the media's coverage of the Oklahoma ivermectin story -- while also continuing to promote the drug's use as a COVID-19 treatment.

"Ivermectin, by the way -- however it turns out, whatever you decide to do -- was developed and awarded a Nobel Prize back in 2015," Kilmeade said while guest-hosting Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday. "It combats river blindness and tropical maladies. Sometimes drugs worked for different things. For some people, they chose to try it. It wasn't out there to make a mockery of."

We know what it looks like when Fox and its ilk go all-in on promoting a drug to their viewers -- it's the same 24/7 shilling that the network gave to the antimalarial medicine hydroxychloroquine last spring. But confronted with the existence of vaccines with near-miraculous effectiveness against COVID-19, they haven't done that. Instead, they've thrown up a host of objections to the vaccines and the campaign to get people to take them while instead promoting drugs like ivermectin that lack a fraction of the evidence in their favor.

It's worth contemplating the best possible way to reach unvaccinated conservatives. But we should be realistic about the potential impact even a maximally effective message might have on a group that gets information from sources within a near-seamless right-wing information bubble.

The people who are most skilled at influencing that audience don't seem to want them to get vaccinated. Until and unless right-wing media personalities decide they care as much about whether their viewers die lonely, painful deaths as they do about "critical race theory" or the availability of Dr. Seuss books, it will be an uphill fight.

When Only Veterinary Science Will Do

You know things are off the wall when even the FDA can't keep a straight face. What could the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say to Americans who refuse to get a coronavirus vaccine administered by medical professionals but instead go to a livestock supply house for a drug designed to deworm horses and cows? Ivermectin in big animal doses can easily make a human sick and possibly dead.

The FDA did issue a warning for people using ivermectin to prevent or treat the virus. But it also playfully tweeted: "You are not a horse. You are not a cow."

Some might deem it inappropriate to apply humor to a matter attached to serious health consequences. Some anti-vaxxers of the right-wing persuasion may accuse intellectual elites of looking down on them. They're not wrong, but average functional folk are also rubbing their eyes in disbelief.

The only logical explanations are stupidity, mental disability, and terminal ignorance. That Sen. Ron Johnson has endorsed use of ivermectin for early treatment of COVID-19 does not change the explanation.

After the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Johnson issued the following statement: "Our federal health agencies have not been forthright with the public about how these life altering decisions have been made or what science and data they are based upon. ... The American people deserve full and accurate information so that they make up their own minds regarding vaccination."

I understand little about aeronautics, but I get onto jet planes anyway because I know credentialed engineers have overseen the building of a safe aircraft. I don't feel I have to study the "science and data" of flight, because I know that experts are on the case.

Now you see people on TV, not all right-wingers, say they won't get the shot until they've researched the evidence on the vaccine. Some look like they couldn't operate a toaster, but if they want to examine the science and data, there are scholarly papers on the virus and its spread at their disposal, courtesy of the National Academy of Sciences. (Surely, they know all about interquartile ranges.)

Likewise, I could devote a decade to studying how those planes get off the ground before boarding one, but I'll pass.

A feed store in Las Vegas that ran out of ivermectin has posted a sign saying it will not sell it to customers who can't produce a picture of them with their horse.

Shelly Smith, manager of V&V Tack and Feed, recalled a man telling her that his wife wanted him on the "ivermectin plan." She told him that it was not safe to take, to which he said, "Well, we've been taking it, and my only side effect is I can't see in the morning." Smith said she responded, "That's a big side effect, so, I mean, you probably shouldn't take it."

Confusing matters, ivermectin in far smaller doses has been used to treat certain parasitic infections in humans. Rest assured, however, that reputable doctors are not prescribing horse paste to human patients.

Resistance to vaccines designed for humans and openness to horse meds seems especially acute in so-called conservative parts of the country. The anti-vaccine hordes of the right seem to be charging unarmed into the reality of a well-equipped and heartless virus. It's a free country, right?

Fifty years from now, documentaries about the COVID-19 crisis may relieve the grimness with a short section about the run on horse meds set to playful music. The associated tragedies will probably be forgotten, mainly because they were self-inflicted.

What can you do about people who choose veterinary medicine over the human kind? Nothing, really.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com

Most-Cited Study Promoting Ivermectin Appears To Be Fraudulent

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Everyone wants the same thing when it comes to COVID-19: A cheap, effective, reliable treatment that can be easily administered to anyone who shows symptoms, with good assurance that they'll quickly recover. There are existing treatments for COVID-19 in the form of monoclonal antibody treatments from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Vir Biotechnology, but those treatments are expensive, difficult to administer, and available in limited quantities. Unless those factors change, these treatments will never become the kind of panacea we need.

If there was something that could be packaged into a pill, or even an EpiPen-style injectable, and handed to everyone as soon as they received a positive test for COVID-19, it would be great. Every health professional wishes that hydroxychloroquine had turned out to be that safe and effective treatment. It just didn't. Every health professional wishes the same about ivermectin. Widely available? Check. Easily administered? Yes. Safe and effective? Well …

For months, fans of ivermectin persuaded by online enthusiasm have been pushing the anti-parasitic based on the same kind of evidence that was once behind the hydroxychloroquine buzz: small, non-clinical "trials" that mostly consist of anecdotal results from a single doctor or proactive. More recently, there have been supposed "metanalyses" that, unfortunately, have lumped a lot of low-reliability data together and given it a veneer of respectability. Some of those involved in these studies have even been invited to the Senate as guests of Republicans, where they have claimed ivermectin is 100 percent effective in stopping COVID-19, and included completely false data to create the impression of a "wonder drug."

The claims about ivermectin have been so pervasive—and apparently, so persuasive—that they've made regular appearances in Daily Kos comments. Doctors are being pushed to prescribe the stuff by patients who refuse to accept other treatment unless they're first given ivermectin. And the refusal to accept the truth about ivermectin is costing lives.

Here's the truth about ivermectin: It's a widely prescribed drug used in treatment of parasites in both humans and animals. With proper dosages and duration of treatment, it has a very good safety record, and it is extremely effective at treating everything from common roundworm to the parasites that carry river blindness.

If someone is getting ivermectin in normal doses, using genuine pharmaceutical-grade drugs that don't contain ingredients not meant for human consumption (many veterinary formulations do have such ingredients) and sticking to the standard timeline of treatment, they are unlikely to suffer lasting harm. As with almost any drug, ivermectin has common side effects: skin rash, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. It also has some rarer side effects, including severe liver damage. If you need ivermectin because you are facing a parasite for which it is the standard treatment, take it.

Here's the other truth about ivermectin: If it has any positive effect on the treatment of COVID-19, that effect is small, difficult to detect, and far from universal.

How is it possible to know this? Because the National Institutes of Health have compiled a list of studies on the use of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. What that list shows, over and over again, is results such as this:

  • "A 5-day course of IVM did not improve time to resolution of symptoms in patients with mild COVID-19."
  • "A 5-day course of IVM in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 did not result in clinical improvement at the end of treatment, and no reduction in mortality was observed."
  • "Use of IVM did not reduce risk of oxygen requirement, ICU admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, or death in hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19."
  • "IVM showed no effect on symptom resolution in patients with mild COVID-19."
  • "Compared to SOC, use of IVM did not lead to faster recovery from mild to moderate COVID-19."
  • "Patients who received IVM showed no difference in viral clearance compared to those who received placebo."
  • "In hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia who were not critically ill, neither IVM nor HCQ decreased the number of in-hospital days, rate of respiratory deterioration, or mortality."

Several of these were studies where the original authors suggested that there had been positive effects from treatment with ivermectin, but these effects disappeared on closer analysis from researchers at the NIH.

Among the list of studies, there are a handful that do appear to indicate positive results.

  • A study that supposedly demonstrated that ivermectin combined with doxycycline was a superior treatment to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, but the actual results showed no statistical difference or evidence that either treatment was an improvement over standard of care.
  • A very small study showed some evidence that the level of virus was reduced when ivermectin was given at three times the normal dose.
  • Another very small study indicated that ivermectin shortened hospital stays, but didn't have a placebo group or consider co-morbidities.
  • Another very small study indicated that a handful of patients had reduced hospital stays, but the number being treated was so small it easily could have been a statistical fluke.
  • The best of the studies showing some durable positive result involved about 250 patients, with a lowering of both hospital stays and mortality after a single dose of ivermectin.

And that's pretty much it. That's what the real literature has to show when it comes to studies, including most of those in pre-print that have not faced peer review. That handful of positive results is enough that the NIH is continuing studying the effectiveness of ivermectin and working it into a large trial. The U.K. is also adding ivermectin to its massive RECOVERY trial.

Either of these trials, or other large trials going on around the world, may find positive benefits from ivermectin. But those benefits, if they exist are going to be marginal, not miraculous. We know that, because that's what the data—positive and negative—already makes clear. In addition to the data examined by the NIH, the World Health Organization reviewed available data and indicated that there was "very low certainty" of any net positive effect from ivermectin.

Of course, this result doesn't match what's circulating widely in social media, and even on broadcast media. That includes how Japan has supposedly seen such good results from ivermectin, they've made it standard of care for all COVID-19 patients. Except they haven't. As NHK World reports, Japan's ministry of health has placed ivermectin "in a category of drugs whose efficacy and safety have not been established." A quick Google search on Japan will bring up studies like this one titled "wonder drug from Japan," but it refers to how the treatment was originally extracted from bacteria located near a Japanese golf course—and earned its discoverer a Nobel Prize. Ivermectin really is very good against parasites.

What about [Insert Country Here]? The answers in most cases are the same as in Japan. There are some countries, particularly in South America, which have authorized the use of ivermectin against COVID-19. Those authorizations appear to be connected to a study that came from Argentina. That study, referenced by many of the positive "meta analyses" as well as figures like vaccine skeptic Joe Rogan, indicated that ivermectin was that dream drug: easily administered, almost universally effective, and safe.

However, as BuzzFeed makes clear, there are some problems with that study. In fact, that study is nothing but a problem. That includes the study taking place at a hospital that says it never happened, along with basic patient data that changes from page to page. The researcher behind the study refuses to share notes or data.

In short, it doesn't look like the study was just badly put together. It looks like it was completely fabricated. And this is the study. The one that's been cited over and over as the justification for going all in on ivermectin.

There have also been claims, including testimony before the Senate, that Peru added ivermectin to its standard of care and immediately saw a decrease in COVID-19 cases. Only that testimony has the timeline completely backward. When it comes to ivermectin, Peru is where America is now back in the fall of 2020. That's when Nature reported on how rumors and false claims had driven a nationwide fury for ivermectin. Doctors could not prescribe it fast enough. Thousands of doses of animal-grade ivermectin were seized from smugglers. So many people were taking ivermectin that one researcher had trouble beginning a controlled trial. "Of about 10 people who come, I'd say eight have taken ivermectin and cannot participate in the study."

All of this came before cases in Peru soared. The same is true of Bolivia. The same is true of Guatemala. Widespread use of ivermectin in all these countries did not stop them from experiencing massive spikes in disease, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Finally, ivermectin in the U.S. has been pushed heavily by groups like Front Line COVID Critical Care (FLCCC), who are—and this is putting it mildly—scam artists. Before they were handing out scripts for ivermectin, they were all in on pushing hydroxychloroquine. Before that, their founder was busy explaining that ovarian cysts were caused by demon sperm. In this pandemic, FLCCC is nothing but war profiteers of the worst kind and the disinformation and propaganda they are spreading, including attacks on the FDA and NIH, are designed to generate false hope of a miracle cure for the purpose of lining their pockets.

The idea that any treatment is being suppressed by some coalition of U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization, and the health care agencies of practically every nation on the planet is a conspiracy theory. If there was evidence of ivermectin's efficiency, it would be used. It's not used because there is no such evidence.

It is not being held back because it's cheap and other treatments are expensive. Ivermectin actually costs more than any of the available vaccines. Other treatments, like anti-inflammatory steroids, have become part of standard of care exactly because they have proven effective.

If ivermectin works against COVID-19 at all, its value will almost certainly be marginal. That's okay. Almost every drug that comes to market is of marginal, and sometimes picayune, benefit. If taking ivermectin provides even a small benefit in protecting COVID-19 patients, it will become part of the standard of care. That's how this works.

That doesn't mean there isn't a conspiracy that's killing those infected with COVID-19. There is. It's the one pushing ivermectin as a miracle cure. That false idea is getting people killed.

I wish that wasn't the case. The FDA wishes that wasn't the case. Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci and every doctor in every ICU in America wishes that wasn't the case. But it is.

Surge Of Ivermectin Misuse Hits Poison Control Centers

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos


Once again, we've reached the part of the pandemic where people ingest random chemicals to treat COVID-19 at home. The overwhelming majority of such people have decided COVID-19 vaccines are too risky or otherwise dangerous. While it may seem obvious to most of us, this is not a good idea. However, many conservatives seem to think otherwise and are willing to die trying to prove themselves right. Despite warnings from the FDA not to take it, anti-vaxxers nationwide have been taking ivermectin, a livestock dewormer. There is no evidence that this drug works as an effective treatment for COVID-19. Despite this, conservative media outlets, including Fox News, have pushed for it.

As a result, calls to poison control centers nationwide have increased at alarming rates. In some states, data has found over 100 percent increases in calls from last year to this. Sadly, it has come to this. Still, as COVID-19 cases increase among the unvaccinated nationwide, officials are urging individuals who are infected to stay home and isolate and not take these unauthorized medications.

Last week in a public tweet, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued another public warning about taking these medications with a link to an FDA information page titled "Why you should not use Ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19."

"Seriously, y'all. Stop it," the tweet said.

While bottles of the chemical note that it is "not for human consumption," it's for deworming cattle and horses, people seem to still not understand until after they have taken it. According to Texas Public Radio (TPR), people call poison control facilities after experiencing severe symptoms and pain.

"Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. However, you can have further problems, including mental status changes, coma, even seizures. And there have been deaths reported. No, I haven't seen any deaths here in Texas, but these are things that are reported by the manufacturer with people who use large doses," Dr. Shawn Varney, Medical Director of Texas Poison Center, told TPR.

Within a year, Texas reported an increase of 552 percent of cases reported of ivermectin poisoning statewide," ABC News affiliate WFAA reported. Health care professionals believe the number is likely underreported because it's self-reported.

Mississippi faces a similar dilemma. With the highest number of new cases of COVID-19 across the country, Mississippi is also battling a surge in calls to poison control.

"At least 70% of the recent [poison control] calls have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers," a letter from the Mississippi Department of Health to the MS Health Alert Network on Friday said. It also warned health professionals of the spike in poisonings from individuals digesting ivermectin in the state.

"Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans," the letter continued. "Patients should be advised to not take any medications intended to treat animals and should be instructed to only take ivermectin as prescribed by their physician."

But Texas and Mississippi are not alone. According to Illinois state's public health director, Ngozi Ezike, the state's poison control center also received numerous calls for other unsafe self-treatments unrelated to COVID-19. Residents reported using a detergent solution for a sinus rinse, for example, or gargling with bleach as a substitute for mouthwash, NBC News reported.

In Alabama, people are also calling about ivermectin in fear of overdoses. According to the Alabama Poison Information Center at Children's of Alabama, there have been over 24 ivermectin exposure cases this year, 15 of which were connected to COVID-19 prevention and treatment, WTVA reported. Other calls have also been reported seeking information about ivermectin. The number of calls inquiring about the drug has more than doubled since 2019.

According to WTVA, while federal regulators have approved ivermectin to treat people and animals for some parasitic worms, head lice, and skin conditions, it's not an approved COVID-19 treatment. Human and animal formulations of the drug are not the same; thus, self-dosing is beyond dangerous.

Daily Kos reported that calls to poison control facilities nationwide first increased last year following Donald Trump's suggestion that disinfectants be considered a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus. While he later claimed his comment was sarcastic, it wasn't before thousands of people ingested Clorox bleach and other harmful chemicals used for cleaning. In at least five states, poison centers reported they had an increase in calls within 18 hours of Trump's broadcasted stupidity. Imagine if Trump advocated for wearing masks or getting the vaccine; maybe things would be different.

Facebook Groups Worldwide Pushing Livestock Medications For Covid-19


Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Facebook is allowing groups on its platform to promote the use and sale of ivermectin -- a drug typically prescribed to fight parasites in humans and large animals -- to prevent and treat COVID-19, even though the social media company claims that it removes such content as part of its policy against medical misinformation.

In the last week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both warned against unapproved use of ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19, after increased reports of patients harmed by self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses. The drug is used to treat intestinal conditions caused by parasitic worms in both animals and people, but the large doses typically prescribed for veterinary use are dangerous for humans.

Despite these warnings -- as well as Facebook's own policy against promoting the purchase, sale, or other misinformation about ivermectin -- users on the platform are sharing ways to use ivermectin for COVID-19, with some even recommending methods for other users to acquire the drug. In fact, Media Matters has found 47 active Facebook groups with nearly 65,000 combined members centered around ivermectin and its use for COVID-19. The majority of these groups were created in 2021, and they're based around the world, including in the United States, South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Facebook has taken little action against these groups, despite other reporting on violative content about ivermectin on the platform. At the time of publication, Facebook has taken down one public group, "The People's Medicine: Ivermectin; Safe Effective Economical (S E E)," that had already garnered roughly 17,000 members, and some posts promoting the use of ivermectin have been flagged with a banner warning users that "unapproved COVID-19 treatments may cause serious harm." Upon clicking on the banner, users are redirected to Facebook's COVID-19 Information Center, but they receive no other immediate information on the drug.

Dozens of other ivermectin-focused groups are still active and promoting violative content on Facebook. Group members frequently ask where to acquire a prescription for ivermectin and for information on dosage and drug combinations, and other members point them to fringe outlets such as America's Frontline Doctors or veterinarian supply stores.

In one private group -- IVERMECTIN MD TEAM -- over 27,000 members have access to this harmful misinformation. Facebook has often struggled to properly enforce its policies against COVID-19 misinformation, particularly within private Facebook groups, which can be more difficult for the platform to moderate.

image of facebook post

Other pro-ivermectin Facebook groups are spreading similar misinformation on the platform.

image of facebook post

image of facebook post

image of facebook post

image of facebook post

image of facebook post

image of facebook post

image of facebook post

In addition to ivermectin-specific groups, other anti-vaccination and pro-Trump private Facebook groups are also exchanging information on where to buy the drug, how to dose it, and sharing testimonials.

image of facebook post

image of facebook post

The unchecked promotion of yet another unproven treatment for COVID-19 more than a year after the disease first emerged -- particularly given the effectiveness of vaccines developed specifically to fight it -- highlights Facebook's continued failure to protect its users from dangerous medical misinformation in the midst of a deadly pandemic.