“It began with one sentence in a Mississippi health alert on reports to the state’s poison control center: “At least 70% of the recent calls have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers.” In the thick of a fierce covid wave in the American South, no official at the FDA, or reporter for that matter, seemed to ask: 70 percent of what? Instead, government and media joined forces against a public health threat that, in retrospect, was vastly exaggerated.
Amid dozens of articles that ensued, Rolling Stone told of Oklahoma hospitals so jammed with ivermectin overdoses that gunshot victims had to wait for care—except it wasn’t true. Twice, The New York Times printed corrections of the same false information from Mississippi, which it described in one article and later removed, as “a staggering number of calls.” The Associated Press, Washington Post and, twice, the The Guardian in London also corrected its reporting on the alert.
The Times’ correction summed it up: “This article misstated the percentage of recent calls to the Mississippi poison control center related to ivermectin. It was 2 percent, not 70 percent.” (The Times and Post both made corrections in direct response to our reporting for this article.)
In real numbers, six calls were received for ingestion of ivermectin. Four were for the antiparasitic drug given to livestock.”