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Some GOP politicians needlessly make ivermectin problem worse

Too many Americans are turning to livestock deworming medication to treat Covid-19. Several congressional Republicans aren't helping.


Over the course of the Covid-19 crisis, Americans have seen all kinds of strange and unexpected developments. When a sitting president raised the prospect of injecting patients with disinfectants, for example, it was tempting to think we'd reached rock bottom.

Little did we know at the time that the United States would, a year later, reach the point at which some Americans ingested livestock deworming medication as a way to treat the virus.

As Rachel explained on the show on Friday night, there are limited instances in which humans should use ivermectin. For example, ivermectin lotion is often used to treat head lice.

But according to the FDA, NIH, World Health Organization, the Journal of the American Medical Association and even the company that makes ivermectin, the drug is not effective in treating Covid-19. It's that simple.

At least, it should be. Poison control centers across the country are nevertheless dealing with a massive increase in cases of people making themselves sick by ingesting deworming medication intended for cows and horses, frequently ending up going to hospitals that are already overwhelmed with patients who refused to get vaccinated.

It reached the point last week that the CDC issued an official health advisory that explained, "Clinical effects of ivermectin overdose include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Overdoses are associated with hypotension and neurologic effects such as decreased consciousness, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, coma and death."

An alarming number of Americans keep trying in vain to treat their viral infections with the livestock medication anyway, in part because conservative media outlets have aired irresponsible reports, and in part because many have disseminated dangerous nonsense via Facebook.

But following up on Friday night's segment, some Republican officials have played an unfortunate role, too. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on Friday:

Hatred of former President Donald Trump has kept researchers from looking into the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin and other drugs to treat Covid-19, Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told constituents on Friday.

The GOP senator did not appear to be kidding. Making the case against medical researchers, whom he believes to be blinded by politics, Paul actually said out loud, "The hatred for Trump deranged these people so much, that they're unwilling to objectively study it. So someone like me that's in the middle on it, I can't tell you because they will not study ivermectin. They will not study hydroxychloroquine without the taint of their hatred for Donald Trump."

As utterly ridiculous -- and potentially hazardous -- as the Kentucky Republican's rhetoric was, Paul isn't the only Republican who's made public comments along these lines. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has also made bizarre comments about ivermectin, even going so far as to criticize public health agencies for warning the public about misusing the livestock medication.

True to form, Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas also pushed ivermectin at an event late last week.

The official Twitter account for the FDA published an important missive last week. It read: "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it."

Evidently, there are some GOP members of Congress who missed the reminder.