Too Good To Check: A Play In Three Acts

Scott Alexander in Astral Codex Ten:

In case you find this hard to follow: ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug that looked promising against COVID in early studies. Later it started looking less promising, and investigators found that a major supporting study was fraudulent. But by this point it had gotten popular among conspiracy theorists as a suppressed coronavirus cure that They Don’t Want You To Know.

The media has tried to spread the word that the scientific consensus remains skeptical. In the process, they may have gone a little overboard and portrayed it as the world’s deadliest toxin that will definitely kill you and it will all somehow be Donald Trump’s fault. It turned into the latest culture war issue, and now there’s a whole discourse on (for example) how supposedly-sober fact-checkers keep calling it “a horse dewormer” (it is used to deworm horses, but it’s also FDA-approved for humans, but lots of the people using it are buying the horse version), and probably this is hypocritical in some way.

Enter the article above. A doctor named Jason McElyea apparently told local broadcaster KFOR that Oklahoma hospitals are “overwhelmed” with ivermectin poisoning cases, so much so that “gunshot victims” are “left waiting”. Some of the world’s biggest news outlets heard the story and ran with it. The tweet mentions the Rolling Stone version, but the same story, with the same doctor’s testimony, got picked up by The Guardianthe BBCYahoo News, etc.

More here.