On Thursday, President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of an “injection” of disinfectant into a person infected with coronavirus during his Thursday daily briefing. He also commented on bringing “light” into an infected person’s body to fight COVID-19.
After less than 24 hours — and following maelstrom of objections from political leaders, medical professionals from every US and global government agency, and the makers of Lysol disinfectant — the president says he was being “sarcastic.”
The suggestions came after Bill Bryan (above) gave a presentation on research showing that the virus doesn’t survive as long in warmer and more humid temperatures. Bryan also mentioned that “the virus dies quickest in sunlight.” Trump then came up with his own suggestions that have proved to be quite controversial.
“So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing,” Trump said, speaking to Bryan during the briefing. “And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too.”
As for disinfectant as a possible treatment, Trump said, “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number, so it will be interesting to check that. So that you’re going to have to use medical doctors. But it sounds, it sounds interesting to me. So we’ll see.”
Both medical professionals and the makers of Lysol have been quick to comment on Trump’s statements.
“This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible,” said Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert, said per NBC News. He also emphasized that any amount of bleach, isopropyl alcohol or common household cleaner can be deadly if ingested, even in small amounts.
While Trump didn’t mention a particular disinfectant in his briefing, the manufacturer of Lysol, a disinfectant spray and cleaning product, warned consumers against any internal use.
“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” a spokesperson for Reckitt Benckiser, the United Kingdom-based owner of Lysol, said in a statement to NBC News.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that calls to poison control center calls have spiked since the beginning of the year and the coronavirus pandemic. According to the report, many calls involved cleaning products — bleach, hand sanitizer and nonalcohol disinfectants.
Sarcastic Question, Sarcastic Answer
“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you,” Trump said today at a press event after signing the nearly $500 billion coronavirus stimulus relief bill into law. “Disinfectant for doing this, maybe on the hands, would work. I was asking…when they use disinfectant it goes away in less than a minute.”
He added: “I was asking a very sarcastic question to reporters in the room about disinfectants on the inside…that was done in a sarcastic way.”
This goes against the White House’s initial statement on Friday, which didn’t mention that the President had been sarcastic. It only alleged that the media had taken him out of context.
“President Trump has repeatedly said Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterday’s briefing,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”
CNN’s Fact Check points out, “Trump was not being ‘sarcastic’ on Thursday when he raised the possibility of injecting disinfectant. There was simply no indication that he was being anything less than serious. He was also wrong Friday when he denied he had asked the medical experts to “check” the idea of disinfectant injections; he was looking at them at the time. And he did not mention hands during his Thursday remarks.”
FOX News verifies this account, stating that the President “…did suggest there might be a way to ‘do something like that by injection inside or, or almost a cleaning’ after changing the topic from light to disinfectants — though he made clear it was not a definitive recommendation — and said ‘medical doctors’ should be involved in any tests…”
The news agency did not verify whether or not Trump said it in a sarcastic way. It did, however, end the article by stating, “Nevertheless, on Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency warned Americans ‘do not ingest disinfectant products,’ after the president’s remarks.
“As of Friday, the U.S. reported more than 871,200 cases of COVID-19 and more than 50,100 deaths.”
Here is Dr. Birx’s reaction when President Trump asks his science advisor to study using UV light on the human body and injecting disinfectant to fight the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/MVno5X7JMA— Daniel Lewis (@Daniel_Lewis3) April 24, 2020
Trump Disinfectant — Sources
NBC News: ‘It’s irresponsible and it’s dangerous’: Experts rip Trump’s idea of injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19
NBC News: Trump suggests ‘injection’ of disinfectant to beat coronavirus and ‘clean’ the lungs
NBC News: Lysol maker warns against internal use of disinfectants after Trump comments
FOX News: Trump claims he was being sarcastic about coronavirus disinfectant comments
CNN: Fact Check