Editor's note: First there was hydroxychloroquine. Then, President Trump suggested injecting bleach. Now antivaxxers are buying out farm supply stores and eating and injecting horse dewormer (COVID-19 is not a worm, so this doesn't work. Duh).
Many of the nutjobs who once swore COVID-19 wasn't real and all those overfilled hospitals were just a media hoax now believe the virus exists, but they don't trust the vaccine because, depending on who you ask, it can make your blood magnetic (it doesn't) or is a secret way of implanting mind-control devices (nope). So what to do if you don't want the virus and refuse the vaccine? Facebook and Fox News have the answer.
NBC News'sBen Collins and Brandy Zadrozny dove deep into the 25,000-person Facebook group pushing a horse dewormer as a miracle cure for covid and uncovered how an underground network of insane Trump supporters managed to convince thousands of antivaxxers to eat and inject horse dewormer, sometimes with dangerous (and hilarious) results. We were introduced to the story through a viral Twitter feed from the story's author, Ben Collins. We've copied it here along with a link to the story it leads to.
A quick thread:⁰— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) August 26, 2021
A lot of people have asked me this week: Where did this ivermectin obsession come from? Who could possibly benefit from it?
Most importantly, why did my antivaxx aunt start eating horse goo from the tractor store?
It’s complicated, but here are some answers. pic.twitter.com/fJZBjejN0N
A lot of people have asked me this week: Where did this ivermectin obsession come from? Who could possibly benefit from it? Most importantly, why did my antivaxx aunt start eating horse goo from the tractor store? It’s complicated, but here are some answers.
First off, they really are eating horse dewormer. It tastes terrible. Some mix it into jam to eat it on toast. Others have asked about... more drastic actions. After all, they think ivermectin horse gel will their life, and their doctor won’t prescribe it. How did we get here?
Let's flash back to last year. Remember those pro-Trump doctors who had an extremely viral video that said hydroxychloroquine “cured” COVID-19? Then-President Trump retweeted it. It had millions of views before it was pulled from Facebook. That was America’s Frontline Doctors.
If you know America’s Frontline Doctors, it’s probably because of Dr. Stella Immanuel. She became famous because, before claiming hydroxychloroquine cures COVID, she said ovarian cysts came from sex with demons. Trump called her “very impressive.”
If you know America’s Frontline Doctors, it’s probably because of Dr. Stella Immanuel.— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) August 26, 2021
She became famous because, before claiming hydroxychloroquine cures COVID, she said ovarian cysts came from sex with demons.
Trump called her “very impressive.”https://t.co/4OpPnfERWD
America’s Frontline Doctors was founded by Simone Gold, who spent the last year barnstorming churches and schools, insisting COVID vaccines cannot be trusted. She’s become wildly influential with antivaxxers in the process. She has over 300k followers on this website.
Over the last year, as HCQ failed to become the miracle cure America’s Frontline Doctors claimed, antivaxxers became obsessed with COVID therapeutics. They're largely experimental cocktails from countries that didn’t have—but wanted—vaccine access. Some included Ivermectin.
Antivaxx groups on Facebook and Reddit wanted ivermectin. Doctors wouldn’t prescribe it. Members did whack-a-mole with telehealth providers, trying to get doctors to sign off on scripts. But one reliably obliged: SpeakWithAnMD, who partners with… America’s Frontline Doctors.
SpeakWithAnMD offered $90 COVID consultations with MDs from America’s Frontline Doctors. The cost of the ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine isn’t included, but, conveniently, they partner with a pharmacy who will ship it to your door!
We got a hold of the intake form for a SpeakWithAnMD doctor. One part of the questionnaire asks: “What medication do you prefer?” The user is then presented with three options: ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, or not sure.
Tthis got out of hand fast. SpeakWithAnMD now hits you with a prompt warning of long wait times due to "overwhelming demand." Antivaxxers were worried about family members dying of COVID, and they were told ivermectin cured it. They were getting really impatient.
This is how people started eating horse goo.
Antivaxxers started imploring each other to go to pet stores, claiming the horse and people Ivermectin are the same. They started sharing tips on how to eat the gel kind. They started hoarding it. They started to wonder if maybe, without medical supervision, they had OD’d on it.
To evade what they believed to be incoming Facebook and Reddit bans, some ivermectin fans started to ask how much their “horse" weighs, so it didn’t look like they were giving out medical advice.
So that's how we ended up here. Ivermectin fans on Facebook, complaining about wait times and high drug prices, got fed up with America’s Frontline Doctors, who sold them conspiracy and the fake cure. So they went to the feed store, to eat the horse goo, because it's cheaper.
There is one final plot twist. America’s Frontline Doctors founder Simone Gold was indicted and is awaiting trial... for her role in the Capitol Riot on January 6th. Out on personal recognizance, she was on the speaker lineup for an antivaxx rally in LA on Saturday.
Anyways, here’s our truly bonkers story on America’s Frontline Doctors and what’s really going on in these private, 25,000-member ivermectin Facebook pages. It was a lot of work. I hope you read it.
Read the full story from NBC's Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny:
Much as the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine became an unproven remedy for Covid deniers, ivermectin has emerged in recent weeks as a new false cure.
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