Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has gotten advice on handling the COVID-19 pandemic from a Los Angeles-based clinical psychiatrist known for his open opposition to coronavirus vaccine mandates and promotion of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, the Miami Herald reports. Mark McDonald promoted the drug on social media earlier this month and defended his stance in an interview with the Herald, shrugging off warnings about the drug by claiming the Food and Drug Administration is downplaying its effectiveness because of the money the agency spent to “mass vaccinate the population.” The drug, which comes in different forms for animals and humans, has prompted a flurry of warnings from health officials who reported a surge in calls to poison control centers after people take a version of the drug meant for livestock.
“If the goal of these people is to advance public health and make the public well, why have none of them spoke a single word about prevention and making one healthy to prevent an infection or hospitalization or death?” McDonald said. “I think there is a lot of dishonesty here and cancellation of people who support truth.” McDonald was also previously part of a panel advising DeSantis against school mask mandates, likening them to “child abuse.” Dr. John Sinnott, an epidemiologist at Tampa General Hospital, blasted McDonald in an interview with the paper. “Any physician who espouses this should be reported to their state medical association,” Sinnott added.