Ivermectin has little proof as a Covid treatment. The first study was found to be falsified, and it’s basically been downhill from there. It is now part of a larger problem, though.

Ivermectin was made famous not because there are animal formulations for deworming horses and such, but because it has human treatment applications for parasitic infestations like lice, scabies, river blindness, etc. The creators (of the larger family of compounds that contain ivermectin) won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for it in 2015. It’s been safely used by hundreds of millions of people.

It’s not wholly unreasonable to wonder if it might have efficacy against Covid, though again I would stress that we have little to no evidence that it does. (Unlike, ahem, preventative vaccines.)

The larger problem is the mainstream media’s attempts to discredit the rightwing conspiracy theorists who’ve been the main drivers of pushing ivermectin as a solution to Covid.

Despite what I (and maybe you) have read, there have not been an overwhelming number of overdoses or people flooding hospitals with ivermectin poisoning. The National Poison Data System reported about 500 mostly mild incidents nationwide last month.

As is their wont, the mainstream media has hyped ivermectin poisoning as a much larger issue. It’s not. The AP’s report that 70% of recent poisoning incidents in Mississippi were related ivermectin? Corrected. Actual percentage? 2%.

A similar article in Rolling Stone (and the BBC) about Oklahoma hospitals turning away patients because of ivermectin ODs? Almost entirely inaccurate, and one that could have been fact-checked relatively easily.

The price we all pay for an inability to trust the media we consume is that we have be constantly vigilant. That’s a price very few people have the time to pay. I’ve long been a media skeptic (my degree is in Communications), but it’s gotten worse: we’re in an era where I’m unwilling to trust virtually anything without multiple source verification. Sources I trusted in the past (the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, etc.) I now approach with a high degree of skepticism. In fact, on various topics I don’t trust them at all.

I’ve tried to move toward the sources themselves in evaluating a story. I think this gets me closer to the “truth” of what’s going on, but it’s time-consuming, and I frequently find that I’m ill-equipped to evaluate deeply technical stories. I’ve also found that outside sources sometimes have their own agendas, which confuses things further.

This information landscape is not useful for preserving the ideals of America (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality). In that respect, ivermectin is one example of a much larger problem, and I don’t know how we solve it except to return to those values which informed previous generations. I also don’t know that we’ll get there anytime soon.