Two of America's most dominant voices on the airwaves are at odds on treatment for the pandemic that's killed over 600 thousand Americans and completely uprooted daily life in the United States.
Earlier this month, popular podcast host Joe Rogan—famous for his hours-long interviews with controversial figures like Elon Musk and Ben Shapiro—tested positive for COVID-19. The host announced he'd been prescribed ivermectin—an anti-parasitic drug used in humans to treat conditions like roundworm and rosacea. Ivermectin is also the active ingredient in animal deworming treatments.
Like hydroxychloroquine last year, conservatives have hailed ivermectin as a miracle treatment for the virus, presenting it to their audiences as an alternative to vaccination. As a result, some have resorted to using over the counter medications meant for animals where ivermectin is the active ingredient. This has resulted in increased calls to poison control centers.
Regardless of its safety, ivermectin is not thought to be effective in treating COVID-19.
In a recent episode of his show, legendary shock jock Howard Stern called out Rogan for touting ivermectin on his podcast.
"I heard Joe Rogan was saying 'What are you busting my balls [for]? I took horse de-wormer and a doctor gave it to me. Well, a doctor would also give you a vaccine, so why take horse-dewormer?"
Rogan is one of a chorus of alternative voices dismissing the need for vaccines, which have repeatedly proven to be safe and effective at slowing the spread of the virus.
The podcast host encouraged young people not to get a vaccine, saying:
"I'm not an anti-vax person. In fact, I said I believe they're safe and I encourage many people to take 'em. I just said, I don't think that if you're a young, healthy person, that you need it."
People agreed with Stern
Meanwhile the use of ivermectin continues to spark discourse online.
Just get vaccinated.