- A North Dakota lawmaker skipped his own anti-vaccine rally after he caught COVID-19.
- Rep. Jeff Hoverson, a Republican, said his illness was "rough" but was treating it with ivermectin.
- Lawmakers in the state are considering legislation meant to counter Biden's incoming vaccine rules.
A North Dakota lawmaker and organizer of a rally against vaccine mandates pulled out of the event after contracting COVID-19.
State representative Jeff Hoverson, a Republican, posted to Facebook on Sunday to say he was quarantining. "Covid is real and like a really bad flu," he said.
Hoverson is an organizer of Monday's "We The People" rally which took place outside the North Dakota State Capitol in opposition to vaccine mandates.
He told the Associated Press (AP) he is feeling "rough" but claimed that the unproven anti-COVID drug ivermectin was "keeping me out of the hospital." His three children would go instead, he told the outlet.
He is one of the most rightwing members of the state's legislature, according to the AP, and last posted a video to Facebook decrying a "Communist Takeover Of America & The World."
Around 400 people attended the rally Monday, according to the Grand Forks Herald. The rally's website advertised speakers such as Turning Point founder Charlie Kirk.
It also touted Chris Berg, a talk radio host who walked out of his job in October over his employer's vaccine requirement, the Herald said.
North Dakota's state legislature is considering two bills meant to curb vaccine mandates, in defiance of President Joe Biden's incoming rules obliging companies with more than 100 employees to require their vaccination.
The state is among the more than 26 states suing to block the rules, as Insider's Kevin Shalvey reported.
Hoverson's Facebook post also called on the state health department to "stop misleading the public about these available treatments," by which he appeared to ivermectin, which doctors generally do not recommend.
The episode is illustrative of a growing divide between scientific consensus - which encourages vaccination, masking, and other measures to curb the spread of the virus - and a highly politicized group that touts, without evidence, unproven treatments like ivermectin as alternatives to getting vaccinated.
In September, North Dakota health officials had held a town hall discouraging ivermectin use in the wake of reports of overdoses and poisoning from the drug, the Associated Press reported.