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Commotion: Oklahoma Hospital Ivermectin Report

Christopher Frawley Christopher Frawley
6th September 2021
Commotion: Oklahoma Hospital Ivermectin Report
McElyea's statements were spun out of context (Getty Images).

The Claim

Rural hospitals in Oklahoma are being overwhelmed as a result of people taking ivermectin. 

Emerging story

The testimony of Oklahoma doctor Jason McElyea became the subject of debate after he was interviewed by Oklahoma’s News 4, a local station. McElyea claimed that hospitals and ambulances were backed up, and that ivermectin (which some have been using as a preventative treatment for COVID-19) was a potentially dangerous drug. The situation escalated significantly when several of the hospitals McElyea is affiliated with came forward to state that ivermectin is a non-issue for them. 

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Misbar’s Analysis

At the center of this confusing story is the use of ivermectin which, like hydroxychloroquine before it, has become the newest unproven cure-all treatment for COVID-19. While the initial release of McElyea’s story was used as proof of the consequences of using the deworming drug intended for livestock, the statement released by the Sequoyah Northeastern Health System resulted in proponents of ivermectin claiming that the drug is receiving an unfair reputation because of this apparently untrustworthy doctor. 

It is worth noting that while McElyea discusses the improper use of ivermectin by humans as well as the difficulties Oklahoma rural hospitals are facing right now, he does not explicitly state that ivermectin is the sole cause of the issues during his interview. That conclusion was drawn in the text of the article published by Rolling Stone, and later repeated by high profile outlets such as The Guardian. Furthermore, neither McElyea nor the article explicitly state which hospitals were overwhelmed. As a result of this ambiguity and the subsequent denouncement from Sequoyah, many felt tricked by both McElyea and the outlets who parroted the original article. 

Oklahoma hospitals are indeed being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases, resulting in overcrowding and transfers. Some are still taking ivermectin, and poison control centers are receiving an uptick in calls. McElyea’s warning regarding taking unapproved drugs is still accurate, although the claim about Oklahoma hospitals appears to be incorrect.

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Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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