For months, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has fought public health efforts to vaccinate Americans amid rising caseloads and fears of a new spike in COVID-19 cases this winter — instead doubling down on unproven treatments being hawked by fringe medical groups.
In a series of tweets Saturday, she urged her followers to file lawsuits against any doctors that refuse to prescribe the anti-parasite drug Ivermectin, and prepare wrongful death suits in case a family member passes away after being denied the deworming drug, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against using for COVID-19.
For justification, she cited a low COVID-19 related death rate in Africa — where the drug has been used widely to fight intestinal parasites that are rare in more developed countries. Studies into the phenomenon have cited other factors for the discrepancy (namely, the fact that African countries have much larger numbers of young people, proportional to the region's overall population).
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"Africans have safely taken Ivermectin for decades and many clinical trials have proven Ivermectin to be a very effective safe & cheap treatment against #Covid," Greene wrote, adding, "Any doctor refusing to prescribe Ivermectin for Covid is participating in politics that is killing people."
She also used the opportunity to blast vaccine mandates and the efficacy of mask wearing in crowded public spaces, which research has repeatedly shown to be an effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19.
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"With Africa's amazingly low death rate from Covid, combined with the lowest vaccine rate in the world & very little masking, the 'civilized' leaders of the world should immediately stop their tyrannical forced shutdowns, vaccine mandates, & absurd masking policies. If you had a loved one die from Covid, and they were not allowed to take Ivermectin or monoclonal antibodies, you might have a wrongful death suit in your hands."
"With all that is know about #Covid and all the covid studies and the known miracle of low deaths in Africa with very little vaccinations, it's no wonder the Tyrants announce a new #covidvariant from Africa and apply travel restrictions. They control you with irrational fear."
Greene's newfound strategy of pushing lawsuits against hospitals and doctors has deeper roots, however. It's a tactic embraced by fringe medical groups like America's Frontline Doctors, which has embraced a number of COVID-19-related conspiracy theories and is helmed by Dr. Stella Immanuel, a Texas doctor who is perhaps best known for suggesting that certain ailments may be caused by sperm from sexual visitations from demons and/or alien DNA.
As Salon's Jon Skolnik reported back in October, people convinced by these groups — which have financial incentives to push Ivermectin on desperate and often unvaccinated patients — have then turned to lawyers-turned-conservative operatives like Ralph Lorigo, a once-obscure lawyer and conservative party chairman in West Seneca, New York.
In an interview, Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, called the tactics "the 21st century, digital version of snake-oil salesmen."
"And in the case of Ivermectin, it's extremely dangerous," he added.