Calls to poison control centers in Mississippi are on the rise due to individuals ingesting the drug ivermectin, which is commonly used to eradicate and prevent parasites in livestock.
“People won’t take the vaccine because they’re super suspicious of that. But they’re taking horse deworming medication that they’re buying at a feed store? For COVID?” asked Maddow. “Why on top of everything else Mississippi has to deal with right now, why are they dealing with this?”
“I have a guess,” she added before playing a series of clips of Fox News personalities — including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity — promoting ivermectin. Hannity pushed the drug as one of the “proactive treatments and practices that are already helping COVID-19 patients all across the country.”
Mississippi is currently struggling with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases and the lowest vaccination rate in the country.
Meanwhile, “Fox News is busy saying, ‘Don’t take the vaccine, but do take this horse deworming medication, trust us, it is proven,'” said Maddow.
She went on to note that the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization all say “do not take ivermectin for COVID.”
Ivermectin should not be used against COVID, nor are livestock doses safe for people. In fact, Mississippi Health Department officials issued a warning: “Do not use ivermectin products made for animals. Animal doses are not safe for humans.”
Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in a press briefing earlier this week, “You wouldn’t get your chemotherapy at a feed store. You wouldn’t treat your pneumonia with your animal’s medication,”
Though ivermectin is commonly used to treat livestock, far smaller doses of tablets have been approved by the FDA to treat conditions caused by parasitic worms in people. Topical forms are also approved to treat head lice and rosacea in humans.
But high doses of ivermectin products for animals “can be highly toxic in humans,” the FDA warned, even deadly. The agency said that using any drugs not approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19 can “cause serious harm,” the agency said. Calling all HuffPost superfans! Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter