Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A different camphorweed stage

with 36 comments

In yesterday’s post you saw that the ray florets in a camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) flower head sometimes curl like little ribbons. Now the same stand of plants in the northeast quadrant of Mopac and US 183 on August 22nd lets you see the remains of a camphorweed seed head. The bright and pretty yellow in the background came from some “common” sunflowers (Helianthus annuus).

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Yesterday’s post also dealt with the early and continuing politicization of the Covid-19 pandemic. On July 3rd I mentioned that some countries were using the drug ivermectin as a therapeutic in treating Covid-19, while at the same time some authorities continued saying the drug is ineffective for that purpose. Regardless of the truth of ivermectin’s effectiveness, which of course as a layman I was (and still am) in no position to know, I lamented the fact that large online sites like Facebook and Twitter were banning people, some of them highly qualified, from even discussing the matter. That’s not in the tradition of a country that thinks so highly of free speech that it’s mentioned in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Since my July 3rd post there have been new developments about ivermectin. Before I go into them, let me tell you what ivermectin is. “In 2015, the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, in its only award for treatments of infectious diseases since six decades prior, honoured the discovery of ivermectin (IVM)…. IVM as deployed worldwide since 1987 has made major inroads against two devastating tropical diseases, onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.” It’s also the case that “Ivermectin is FDA-approved for use in animals for prevention of heartworm disease in some small animal species, and for treatment of certain internal and external parasites in various animal species.”

Now for the recent developments.

A rural Oklahoma doctor said patients who are taking the horse de-wormer medication, ivermectin, to fight COVID-19 are causing emergency room and ambulance back ups.

“There’s a reason you have to have a doctor to get a prescription for this stuff, because it can be dangerous,” said Dr. Jason McElyea.

Dr. McElyea said patients are packing his eastern and southeastern Oklahoma hospitals after taking ivermectin doses meant for a full-sized horse, because they believed false claims the horse de-wormer could fight COVID-19.

“The ERs are so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting to facilities where they can get definitive care and be treated,” he said.

That’s something McElyea said is now backing up ambulance systems as well.

“All of their ambulances are stuck at the hospital waiting for a bed to open so they can take the patient in and they don’t have any, that’s it,” said Dr. McElyea. “If there’s no ambulance to take the call, there’s no ambulance to come to the call.”

Rolling Stone Magazine picked up the story, as did MSNBC and various other outlets. Some of them put a decidedly “look at those stupid hicks swallowing horse paste” spin on their telling of it, conveniently failing to even mention that ivermectin does have approved human uses and that some other countries have been administering it for Covid-19.

One little problem: the story was untrue. An MSN article details the things that were wrong with it.

  • Here’s the second development. In August, a doctor who favors the use of ivermectin in treating Covid-19 wrote a remote prescription for a patient in an Ohio hospital’s intensive care unit. After the hospital refused to administer the drug because it’s not approved for that purpose in the United States, the patient’s family went to court. On August 23rd a judge ordered the hospital to administer the prescribed ivermectin. Then on September 6th another judge reversed the first judge’s order, siding with the hospital’s stance that government agencies in the United States haven’t approved ivermectin for Covid-19. The second judge noted that “This Court is not determining if ivermectin will ever be effective and useful as a treatment for COVID-19.”
  • In the third and most important development, the September 2021 issue of the medical journal New Microbes and New Infections reports the following:

Since March 2020, when IVM (ivermectin) was first used against a new global scourge, COVID-19, more than 20 randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have tracked such inpatient and outpatient treatments. Six of seven meta-analyses of IVM treatment RCTs reporting in 2021 found notable reductions in COVID-19 fatalities, with a mean 31% relative risk of mortality vs. controls. During mass IVM treatments in Peru, excess deaths fell by a mean of 74% over 30 days in its ten states with the most extensive treatments. Reductions in deaths correlated with the extent of IVM distributions in all 25 states with p < 0.002. Sharp reductions in morbidity using IVM were also observed in two animal models, of SARS-CoV-2 and a related betacoronavirus. The indicated biological mechanism of IVM, competitive binding with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, is likely non-epitope specific, possibly yielding full efficacy against emerging viral mutant strains.

If you wish, you can read the full article.

So it seems the evidence is now coming down in favor of ivermectin’s effectiveness in treating Covid-19. We’ll see if future research keeps supporting that conclusion. We’ll follow the science.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 11, 2021 at 5:10 AM

36 Responses

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  1. Fine, fading flower, and thanks too for the IVM article–good to see some serious research for a change.


    September 11, 2021 at 5:34 AM

  2. Aging can be beautiful.

    What amazes me is that folks who won’t get the vaccine for a number of reasons… “I don’t know what’s in it”, yet will eat hot dogs or Chicken McNuggets for example…will take a chance on getting Covid 19 because they think Ivermectin will cure them. There is still no proof that it does anything to alleviate symptoms and hasten recovery. Here is one JAMA article showing that. Although that article is from last March I didn’t see, although could have missed, anything more current showing the drug to be an effective cure. Why people will ignore science and refuse the vaccine amazes me. “A meme I see going around says that hospitals are filled with Covid patients. Hospitals are not filled with Covid Vaccine recipients”. The meme is not science but is common sense. The odds are more likely you’ll be in a car accident than have a serious negative reaction to the vaccine. People don’t want to trust the science but do want to trust some quack on the internet or that they watch on YouTube. At some point Ivermectin may prove its efficacy as a treatment but so far it has limited if any use in treating Covid. So if people are going to follow the science they should be lining up everywhere for the vaccines. Save Ivermectin, if proven a worthy treatment, for when a vaccinated individual does get a mild case. And it certainly is not a preventative. I do give my dog Ivermectin in his heartworm medication. I won’t be trying any myself.

    Steve Gingold

    September 11, 2021 at 5:46 AM

    • You wrote: “Although that article is from last March I didn’t see, although could have missed, anything more current showing the drug to be an effective cure.”

      The third bullet point in my commentary refers to a September 2021 article in the journal New Microbes and New Infections. It says that “Six of seven meta-analyses of IVM [ivermectin] treatment RCTs [randomized clinical trials] reporting in 2021 found notable reductions in COVID-19 fatalities, with a mean 31% relative risk of mortality vs. controls. During mass IVM treatments in Peru, excess deaths fell by a mean of 74% over 30 days in its ten states with the most extensive treatments.” To me that sounds like good evidence that ivermectin has proved effective against Covid-19. You can read the full article at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2052297521000883?via%3Dihub

      Vaccines are a separate question from treatment. I remember back in January and February how I spent hours each week trying to get us signed up for a vaccine. So many eager people, so few appointment slots. We finally managed to get our second Pfizer shots by the end of March. We have several friends who don’t want to get the vaccine. I’ve encouraged them, but to no avail.

      A big quandary remains about vaccination. In my commentary on August 28th (https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2021/08/28/little-metallic-sweat-be-on-a-partridge-pea-flower/) I cited the opening sentence from an August 26th online article published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science: “The natural immune protection that develops after a SARS-CoV-2 infection offers considerably more of a shield against the Delta variant [which accounts for most current cases] of the pandemic coronavirus than two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to a large Israeli study….”

      And yet the current administration in our country is insisting that people who have acquired protection by having recovered from the disease still have to get the vaccine. That doesn’t sound to me like following the science.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2021 at 6:29 AM

      • Some science considers further risk in those who have had Covid once already. Just as with those of us who have been vaccinated, there is always a chance, as has been shown, to get reinfected although with much less dire results. I guess science feels that can also be the case with those who experienced the virus already. And as the vaccines, for the greater part, pose no threat of serious side effects and is being offered at no cost, it seems prudent for all to be vaccinated. Although I am now considered immune to WNV, there have been a couple albeit very few cases of a second infection. I am not chancing it and if there is a vaccine I’ll be in line. There may have been many waiting in line for their shots but millions in the USA are still resisting or refusing. And the example you cite shows some effectiveness of Ivermectin but the chances of it not aiding is still greater than the risk of vaccination in the majority of individuals. It’ll never go away unless it is a team effort just like with previous wide spread illnesses.

        Steve Gingold

        September 11, 2021 at 6:54 AM

        • Even those of us who’ve been vaccinated run some risk of getting Covid-19. As I recall, the original study showed the Pfizer vaccine to be 95% effective, which still means 1 in 20 vaccinated people could get infected, even if less severely than without the vaccine. The big Israeli study found that immunity from having acquired the virus was as good as the immunity provided by the Pfizer vaccine—actually even better. The Israeli study found that the best protection of all occurred in people who’d recovered from Covid-19 and then also gotten one shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

          The fact remains, though, that if our current administration is pushing for vaccination as a condition for employment, and if people with Covid-acquired immunity have at least as good protection from Covid-19 as vaccinated people, then it’s illogical not to accept Covid-acquired immunity on par with vaccine-acquired immunity. Anyone with Covid-acquired immunity who wants an even greater amount of protection is still free to get one shot of vaccine—and yet the current administration is insisting on two shots on top of Covid-acquired immunity. That’s not following the science.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 11, 2021 at 7:32 AM

  3. Despite having some experience with the benefits of Ivermectin for onchocerciasis, I’d not come across any more detailed reports of current research about its benefits in regard to Covid treatment. To be honest, I kept finding articles that were no more than explicit or implicit name-calling, and stopped reading in frustration. Thanks for including the abstract and the link to the report.

    The coppery sheen of the desiccated rays is lovely, as is the greenish-yellow glow in the background. From the appearance of the stem, it seems an early autumn breeze might have been blowing.


    September 11, 2021 at 6:41 AM

    • Given your comment the other day about Ivermectin as an effective treatment for onchocerciasis (river blindness), a disease you’re familiar with from your time in Africa, I figured you’d appreciate the current article about the meta-analyses of Ivermectin’s effectiveness against Covid-19. I learned about the study yesterday from an article in the National Review,


      whose site I happened to visit only because I’d received an offer to subscribe and I took a look to see whether the magazine had enough articles that interested me. Once I saw National Review’s Ivermectin article, I postponed my planned commentary for today’s post and wrote the new one that appears here. I was aware of two other Ivermectin-related incidents, which became my first two bullet points. It took me several hours to find supporting articles and write everything up coherently.

      As you say, so many articles about Ivermectin—and many other subjects—are implicit or even explicit name-calling. It’s a lot quicker to do that than to spend time doing honest research.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2021 at 7:08 AM

    • As for today’s photograph, the sheen sure shines—so much so that there was some risk of blowing out the highlights, which I fortunately didn’t do. The “haziness” in the stem wasn’t from wind but was rather an optical effect due to things farther away being out of focus. I think the little hairs on the stem contributed to your sense of wind.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2021 at 7:16 AM

  4. I especially love photography in autumn and winter. Often the beauty of change in aging and death can be outstanding. You’ve captured that with the camphorweed, and that background really makes it pop!

    I laughed a bit at that newscast, which was deemed bullshit, but of course there was no retraction of it by KFOR or Rolling Stone. Typical. As for Ivermectin, I am in favor of it. The science is there. And people have survived on “horse doctoring” for decades. That does not make it right or wrong – it’s a choice. Who the heck cares if someone’s choice of treatment is off-the-wall crazy? It’s still a choice and it isn’t anyone else’s business to judge it.

    Few speak out about the reason so many succumb to Covid – we are a very unhealthy nation. How can our bodies recover from much of anything thrown at them when they are already fighting for life from the crap we eat and lifestyle choices? No one talks about the unhealthy foods promoted in this country and the lies about the foods we’ve been eating for a few decades now. The government and CDC won’t look at the root cause – they promote another pill or “vaccine”. Most of those pills document all sorts of side effects yet people continue use them, adding another problem for the human body to overcome. But that is a free choice too. I’m overwhelmed and disgusted by name-calling and judging. Everyone seems to be an expert these days.


    September 11, 2021 at 8:12 AM

    • I agree with you about our nation’s collective health and the garbage we put into ourselves which is why I mentioned choosing hot dogs or chicken mcnuggets over a proven vaccine. But on personal choices, they do not only affect the person. That bad choice can lead to hospitalization which endangers the health, both emotionally and physically, of the health care workers. It can endanger the health of someone needing care but finding no hospital beds available.They can choose but the hospital and their nurses and doctors cannot…unless they retire or leave a certain type of care which then adds to the shortages. Freedom of choice carries responsibilities. Vaccines have their place. No one has to worry about smallpox, polio, etc because of them. A healthy body does not guarantee resistance to deadly diseases. So while I agree with you about our food choices and overall laziness leading to bad health, medicines have their place where other things will not suffice.

      Steve Gingold

      September 11, 2021 at 9:38 AM

      • It is obvious that we are going to have to agree to disagree on the overall issue of effective ways to prevent and treat COVID-19 infection, and what personal choices we make along our chosen path of how to protect ourselves against it. I choose a path that focuses on putting things (food, supplements, etc.) into my body that promote a healthy immune system, based upon my personal belief that our all-powerful and perfect Creator did not bestow upon us a body that requires injections with, or consumption of, man-made substances with a list of adverse side-effects a mile long. Further, to take an injection of a “vaccine” (with no studies yet performed to identify what actual or potential adverse effects it may cause) for a virus with a 99.5% chance of survival for a person in my age group, flies in the face of logic – at least from my personal standpoint.

        It seems your argument is to say that people should throw away their freedom of choice, and “be responsible” by taking this “proven vaccine” to protect not only themselves, but others, including hospital staff, from exposure to COVID-19 should they contract the virus and have to go to the hospital as a result and, further, that their “bad choice” to not take the vaccine can lead to using up hospital resources that should remain available for those with other medical needs. So, what about those who have been “fully vaccinated” but have still contracted the virus, AND have been hospitalized, AND have died from it? By your logic, I guess these poor folks are just ‘responsibly unfortunate’.


        September 11, 2021 at 11:41 AM

        • Yup. We’ll agree to disagree and still get along. All I will say is that the Creator also gave people the ability to discover how to deal with things like covid through their intelligence. Why ignore that?

          Steve Gingold

          September 11, 2021 at 11:55 AM

          • I don’t feel people that choose not to get the shot are ignoring anything. We all have experiences that support our current beliefs and practices. For me, there are just too many red flags resulting from information from the CDC and our government to make me comfortable to trust what they are pushing and mandating.


            September 11, 2021 at 12:26 PM

    • I’m sure looking forward to fall. Over the past month I’ve only gone out taking photographs in nature only a few times because the weather has been so hot and humid. Yesterday morning it was 68° so I drove out onto the prairie and resumed my picture-taking. This morning we went to the Wildflower Center for the first time in several months.

      As for the story that originated at KFOR, I noticed that Rolling Stone, which disseminated the story, still has it up on its website but has changed the headline to “One Hospital Denies Oklahoma Doctor’s Story of Ivermectin Overdoses Causing ER Delays for Gunshot Victims” and has added an update at the beginning:


      When it comes to eating well, you make a good point that our country sure sells a lot of junk food, both in fast food outlets and in grocery stores. Give me plenty of fresh vegetables.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2021 at 1:00 PM

  5. Beautiful background, excellent details of the seed head. I’m fascinated with the fruiting phase of flowers, there’s a lot of beauty in it.


    September 11, 2021 at 9:12 AM

    • The sunny yellow background did it for me in this picture, that’s for sure. Like you, I’ve taken my share of pictures showing the fruiting phase and beyond, as the fruits decay. What’s left behind, as with this camphorweed, can be visually fascinating.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2021 at 1:03 PM

  6. That drug has been banned in Germany too, and was used in small doses for prevention in India until November last year, where it was also suddenly banned. Their Covid figures rose dramatically from then on…. maybe a coincidence? Strange to ban a trusted drug that appears to work and has few side effects.


    September 11, 2021 at 9:32 AM

    • One of the charts about Peru in the Microbes and New Infections article shows a large decline in deaths when ivermectin was being used, followed by an equally steep surge in deaths after a new president restricted the use of ivermectin:

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2021 at 1:07 PM

      • That was new for me. It is hard not to draw sinister conclusions for the drug being taken off the market or restricted. Our system is so corrupt that I should not be surprised.


        September 13, 2021 at 1:41 AM

        • Normally I’d be skeptical of a chart like that, but it’s from an article in a journal that appears to be legitimately scientific. It does make one wonder why so many people are suppressing evidence-based discussion of the topic.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 13, 2021 at 5:08 AM

  7. You found the perfect background to highlight this fading flower. It looks pretty.


    September 11, 2021 at 1:19 PM

  8. I’ll join the chorus of those who like the foreground and background.
    As for Ivermectin, I have two prescriptions from my Movement Disorders Specialist, who advised that IF I started to exhibit symptoms, I should immediately start taking it as directed, even before going to an ER to be seen by medical providers. Based on the research, people who received it shortly after infection had milder symptoms and fewer hospitalizations than those who didn’t or those who received later in the course of the illness.
    I checked on PubMed Central, which is a part of the NIH’s repository of medical journals, and there were a few showing that Ivermectin had shown effectiveness, although there was one meta-review that said that there isn’t enough research to say whether or not it is effective (across all the studies done).
    So I am more or lss in agreement with you here. I’ve heard news shows talking heads derisively referring to it as a “horse dewormer,” although I do think that people who seek to purchase it from a seed store instead of asking their doctor for a prescription are not showing the best of judgment, and are probably acting out of ignorance.


    September 11, 2021 at 10:55 PM

    • And I appreciate how you’ve described your personal background vis-à-vis ivermectin, namely that a doctor has prescribed it for you “just in case.” I also appreciate your confirming how some “news shows talking heads derisively referr[ed] to it as a ‘horse dewormer.’” Can people buy the animal version of ivermectin at a feed store without a prescription? If so, some people might buy the drug that way to avoid having to go to a doctor. In addition to the time and expense of seeing a doctor, there’s the fact that some doctors won’t prescribe ivermectin for Covid-19 because it hasn’t been approved in the United States for that purpose.

      In following up my own question, I just found out on the website at
      that ivermectin products for farm animals—but not pets—don’t require a prescription.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2021 at 4:50 AM

  9. I do believe in free speech, but we must admit that lay people discussing medications among themselves is a new product of the digital age. It used to be a discussion and decision between a person and his or her doctor and part of me thinks it should return to that.

    Alessandra Chaves

    September 12, 2021 at 6:51 AM

    • As you say, it’s hard for laypeople to know the truth about the efficacy of a medication—or about a chemical reaction, an engineering practice, or matters from any other technical field. In writing my recent commentaries, I’ve looked for sites that seem to do an accurate job reporting on technical matters.

      Complicating the situation is that science itself has become increasingly politicized in recent years, and especially since 2020. Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen plenty of prevarication and contradictory advice from so-called experts, and only some of that has been based on new evidence.

      It’s especially troubling to me that for political purposes the media have censored even some people with excellent technical credentials.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2021 at 7:29 AM

      • Yes, that sounds about right. It would be funny to me if I had to watch lay people discussing the identification of insects and if the subject became politicized and papers had to be retracted due to that. Weird times we live in.

        Alessandra Chaves

        September 12, 2021 at 9:50 AM

        • Weird times indeed, and beyond that, disheartening. It shouldn’t be long now before entomology introduces “affirmative action” for “insects of color” to combat “systemic speciesism.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 12, 2021 at 11:05 AM

  10. I love it when I see a plant that has seed heads that looks as interesting as flowers. And the metallic look of this one is very impressive – like a little metal sculpture or a piece of jewellery maybe.

    Ann Mackay

    September 14, 2021 at 5:45 PM

    • Over the years, viewers have suggested from time to time that certain subjects of my portraits would make good jewelry. Things that look metallic seem to lend themselves to that especially well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2021 at 11:29 PM

      • Jewelry designers would love to browse your photographs!

        Ann Mackay

        September 16, 2021 at 4:11 AM

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