It’s come to this

At a time when only just over half of all Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 there has been a sudden interest in use of the drug ivermectin, a horse dewormer, as an antidote. This madness hasn’t stopped at the border, with a run on supplies of the livestock drug in Alberta and Amazon Canada including warnings on search results for the drug on its site (even though Amazon doesn’t sell it).

In the U.S. the Federal Drugs Administration posted the following on their Twitter account: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” Nevertheless, celebrity podcaster Joe Rogan recently admitted that he was taking the drug after having come down with COVID.

This is stupid on the level of the Tide Pod Challenge, where people would eat packages of laundry detergent. The Tide Pod thing was performative jackassery that I assumed was being done just to get clicks and views on social media and it didn’t involve more than a couple of dozen cases, at least as far as I can tell. Is the use of ivermectin any different? Are people just doing this to get attention? Or as a way of publicly declaring their pathological distrust of all authority and expertise? It can’t be just because they’re stupid, because I don’t think they all are. At least I don’t think they’re all this stupid.

11 thoughts on “It’s come to this

  1. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic, used for both humans and animals.
    Some say it can be repurposed as an antiviral and even as a covid treatment — large-scale clinical trials are still ongoing to determine this in the US and UK.
    But don’t hold your breath — it’s also a generic drug and Big Pharma stands to make no money from it.
    When the elite found out people in Trump Country were taking the drug they went into full damage-control mode. Can’t have a large number of Bubbas potentially chipping away at Big Pharma’s vaccine profits. Hence the “horse paste” campaign.
    If the purpose was to get conservative Americans (already lied to with years of fake Russiagate stories) to stop taking Ivermectin, the rollout was staggeringly inept. The use of “y’all” in that condescending FDA tweet was only going to make resistors dig in their heels. A Rolling Stone story about “horse paste victims” filling an emergency room turned out to be dubiously sourced. Etc.
    (Offered free of charge as an insight into Those Strange Americans And Where They Might Be Coming From.)

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    • Agree with some of this. But disagree too!

      I know Joe Rogan tore into Sanjay Gupta over this, but I don’t think he made a lot of sense. Ivermectin is used by humans as well as animals as anti-parasitic but (a) it hasn’t been shown to have any effect on a virus like COVID (and I don’t know why it would); and (b) the ivermectin that people were rushing out to buy was the horse dewormer. It was veterinary drug suppliers that were reporting a run on their supplies and that was what was getting in the news at the time (in the U.S. and Canada). I don’t think these people were taking it, or looking to take it, because they knew something nobody else did. Though maybe they thought they did.

      The FDA tweet was probably the wrong approach, for the reason you give. On the other hand, I’m not sure any approach would have worked. If not condescending then . . . elitist?

      Think we may not see eye-to-eye on the Russiagate stories. This backlash has troubled me a bit. As an outsider: What do you think was fake? The Steele Dossier? Probably some of it, but it was also irrelevant. I thought the evidence was pretty clear that Trump was involved in improper contacts with Russia. It was certainly an M.O. he continued with Ukraine. You could argue that the Mueller investigation was bad tactics politically, but it seemed to me like something needed to be done. That certainly didn’t seem like no big deal to me.

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  2. As someone with Red State connections (but not inclinations, at least mostly) I can say, anecdotally, that it started as a kind of folk remedy. People used what was ready to hand and seemed to be working. As far as I know the late Rush Limbaugh wasn’t telling them to do this. Also, these are people deeply distrustful of US elite culture. The “y’all stupid hicks” smackdown from US government/media was so vehement and comprehensive it almost confirms this. A lot of the same people voted Trump because they despise Hillary (not without justification) and wanted to stick their thumbs in the system’s eye, damn the consequences, and the use of Ivermectin has some of the same spirit.
    Sometimes folk wisdom is actually wisdom. I’m not ready to say this anti-parasitic can’t be repurposed into an antiviral (Wikipedia says it’s still under study, despite all the denouncements) and I thought it was kind of interesting that “hicks” thought it could.
    As for Russiagate, Aaron MatĂ© has been doing great work on this, and has been gradually vindicated by the Mueller nothing and the recent indictments of operatives tied to the Clintons for ginning up evidence (including but not limited to the Steele Dossier). My position has been since 2016 that Trump was a buffoon and amateur and could be soundly critiqued without elevating him into an international man of intrigue. But the Clintons couldn’t face that they lost to a buffoon (and were widely hated in America) so they ginned up this Russian conspiracy and the US media worked it for four years. Clinton immediately blaming her loss on “Russian Wikileaks” makes me cringe to this day. There was also a bit of militaristic Washington culture *wanting* to stir things up with Russia, and (as I said elsewhere) I’ve already lived that Cold War movie once, thanks.

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    • I definitely agree with Hillary’s looking to blame anyone but herself for her loss. She’s probably the person most responsible for Trump’s getting elected. I don’t know how someone as experienced as her didn’t see or understand just how unpopular she was. Wrote a bunch about her memoir here:

      What Happened

      As for the Russia-Trump connections, I don’t think Trump was any kind of a Manchurian candidate, but I definitely do think he was seen by Putin as a useful idiot. Putin was clear he wanted Trump to win, and I think he did he best to help him. I don’t think this threw the election to Trump, but their collusion (not a crime, but they were cooperating, and trying to keep it secret) was not right. I’ve been a bit concerned about the narrative taking shape now that Trump was “totally exonerated” by Mueller and that it really was all a deep-state witch hunt. I wouldn’t agree with that.

      Oh well. Starting to look more and more possible that he’s coming back in 2024 anyway. Or maybe it will be Don Jr. And I doubt Biden will be capable of running again. Not looking good.

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  3. I remember your review of What Happened. I remember thinking at the time you were made of sterner stuff than me to wade into that. But even though she appears be gone (let’s hope), her thinking persists in the Dems who are still around. I’ll read what you wrote again. I’ll be surprised if Joe makes it through 4 years and he’s done much already to hand the reins back to the Repubs (such as reneging on his few minor campaign promises).

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    • I mainly think Biden is just too old. I don’t think he’s going to last physically or mentally. (I’d add that Trump is too old and feeble mentally and physically as well.) Plus for whatever reasons Harris is not a popular figure. Don’t know who the Dems might put in there who would gain traction. Or really if it would make a difference.

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