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Jimmy Kimmel jokes hospitals shouldn't treat patients who used ivermectin for COVID-19 treatment

The controversy surrounding ivermectin
The controversy surrounding ivermectin 08:55

Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel is facing some criticism for suggesting hospitals should refuse to treat patients who have taken an anti-parasitic drug to treat COVID-19. The "Jimmy Kimmel! Live" star made the joke during the show's fall premiere on Tuesday.

In his opening monologue, Kimmel referenced a statement from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in which he said hospitals have begun to run out of intensive care unit beds and will soon be forced to make "tough choices."

"That choice doesn't seem so tough to me," Kimmel said. "Vaccinated person having a heart attack? Yes, come right in. We'll take care of you. Unvaccinated guy who gobbled horse goo? Rest in peace, wheezy."

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He's referring to ivermectin, a drug some people are taking to treat or prevent COVID-19. The antiparasitic drug is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19-related use, and state and federal health officials have repeatedly warned against using the drug for treatment. But misinformation has made its use skyrocket

The U.S. has recorded a 24-fold increase in the number of ivermectin prescriptions since the start of the pandemic, with more than 88,000 prescriptions reported in the week of August 13, according to CDC data. Meanwhile, others are ingesting livestock-grade ivermectin, which can result in overdoses in humans. In August, Mississippi health officials said calls to the state's poison control centers have increased, and at least 70% of calls are related to ingesting ivermectin.

Kimmel called those who have chosen to self-medicate with ivermectin "pan-dimwits."

"Poison control centers across the country have seen a spike in calls from people taking livestock medicine to fight the coronavirus, but they won't take the vaccine, which is crazy," he said. "It's like if you're a vegan and you're like, 'No, I don't want a hamburger — give me that can of Alpo instead.'"

His jokes weren't well-received by all. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted in response to Kimmel's comments: "Sick. Angry Leftist to anyone who disagrees with him on vaccines: 'Rest in peace, wheezy.' THAT'S AN ACTUAL QUOTE. I've been vaccinated, but I don't wish death on those who make different choices."

The medical community and the federal government maintain the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection and lessen potential symptoms of the virus is to receive one of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA: Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.

"If a pharmaceutical company says, 'Please don't take the drug we're selling,' you should probably listen to them," Kimmel said. "Or you could just go with a TikTok posted by a disgraced veterinarian instead."

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