Trump’s musing on disinfectants prompts officials to issue warning
President also suggested exposure to sunlight could help treat virus
WASHINGTON—Don’t inject disinfectants, health officials leapt to warn on Friday, reacting to U.S. President Donald Trump’s comment that disinfectants perhaps could be injected or ingested to fight COVID-19. His suggestion even prompted the maker of Lysol to warn its product should never be used internally.
“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),” said the statement from Reckitt Benckiser, parent company of the maker of Lysol and Dettol.
Trump said Friday that he’d been speaking sarcastically, but a transcript of his remarks suggested otherwise.
The government also cautioned the country against the idea. The surgeon general’s office tweeted: “A reminder to all Americans- PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/ medication to yourself or a loved one. Your safety is paramount, and doctors and nurses are have years of training to recommend what’s safe and effective.”
Trump’s comments on disinfectants came after William Bryan, who leads the science and technology directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, spoke at the White House briefing Thursday about how researchers are testing the effect of disinfectants on virusladen saliva and respiratory fluids in the laboratory. They kill the virus very quickly, he said. Bryan said injections weren’t part of the disinfectant research.
Trump told reporters on Friday: “I was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.”
This is what he said a day earlier: “And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning,” Trump said. “Because you see, it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”
The White House accused the media of taking Trump’s comments out of context.
“President Trump has repeatedly said that 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.” Trump has acknowledged several times that he’s “not a doctor,” but has previously suggested various ideas for fighting the coronavirus. Earlier, he repeatedly promoting the drug hydroxychloroquine, saying such drugs could be a potential “game changer” in the fight against the virus.
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration warned that people should not take chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 outside of a hospital or formal clinical trial, citing reports of “serious heart rhythm problems.” On Thursday, the White House also pitched “emerging” research on the benefits of sunlight and humidity in diminishing the threat of the virus.
Bryan said that there are “emerging results” from new research that suggest solar light has a powerful effect in killing the virus on surfaces and in the air. He said scientists have seen a similar effect from higher temperatures and humidity. A biocontainment lab in Maryland has been conducting testing on the virus since February, Bryan said.
Trump was asked if it was dangerous to make people think they would be safe by going outside in the heat, considering that so many people have died in Florida.
“I hope people enjoy the sun. And if it has an impact, that’s great,” Trump replied, adding, “It’s just a suggestion from a brilliant lab by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant man.”
“I’m here to present ideas, because we want ideas to get rid of this thing. And if heat is good, and if sunlight is good, that’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned,” the president said.
U.S. President Donald Trump has often talked up prospects for new therapies in the fight against COVID-19.