The makers of Lysol, the Washington State Emergency Management Division, and the Environmental Protection Agency all struggled to conduct damage control after President Trump seemed to suggest injecting people with disinfectants could be a potential cure for COVID-19.
At last night’s White House press conference, a Department of Homeland Security official said they are investigating whether household cleaners such as bleach and rubbing alcohol can kill the corona virus on inanimate, non-living surfaces.
Trump, who jumped back in, went a step too far:
“And then I see disinfectant, where it beats out in a minute – a minute, and there’s a way we can do something like that by injecting inside, or almost cleaning. Because you see that it gets into the lungs and it puts a huge amount in the lungs so it would be interesting to check that. So you have to use doctors, but it sounds interesting to me, ” said Trump.
Disinfectants are very good at killing microbes on surfaces outside the body. But to be clear, they are aggressive chemicals: if you inject or swallow them, they are much more likely to poison or kill you than they are to poison or kill the virus. There are already calls to poison hotlines around detergents and disinfectants much higher than usual, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is related to coronavirus-related cleaning efforts.
The manufacturer of Lysol made a statement this morning stressing that their products should not be used in the human body. “We need to be clear that under no circumstances should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (by injection, ingestion or any other route),” they said. The Environmental Protection Agency said last night that disinfectants should not be taken, although they do not state what caused the warning, and the Washington State Emergency Management Division tweeted that people should not inject them.
Please do not eat flood capsules and do not inject yourself with some disinfectant.
Just don’t make a bad situation worse.
– WA Emergency Management (@waEMD) April 23, 2020
The New York Department of Health also has one warning about cleaning products on Twitter, just like the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:
QUINN THE QUARANTINE FOX: Cleaning products are poisonous, America! Make sure to keep those cleaning products in their original bottle and store them out of sight and out of reach of children! pic.twitter.com/yKdZAfO2Rz
– US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) April 24, 2020
The White House press secretary said in a statement today that President Trump’s statements have been taken out of context. “President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult doctors about the treatment of coronavirus,” read the statement.
At the same briefing, Trump also suggested using sunlight to cure the virus. “What if you brought the light into the body, through the skin or some other way?” he said. This was not as great a safety risk to the public health community as it was ultraviolet ammunition remains completely fictional, and ultraviolet blood radiation was most popular in the 1940s and 50s. The toxicity of cleaning products, on the other hand, is a current hazard.
People across the country and the world take the things Trump says seriously, sometimes with deadly consequences. A man died in Arizona after taking a product used to clean aquariums, which contains the same ingredient as the antimalarial drug that Trump promoted for weeks as a COVID-19 remedy, all at press conferences. His wife, who also took the medicine and was hospitalized, they said the fish product was the same as the medicine.
“Trump kept saying it was actually a cure,” she told NBC News.
However, one group was happy to hear that Trump advocates the internal use of disinfectants: people who push Miracle Mineral Solution, which is made from highly toxic bleach, as a miracle cure.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned that the solution is poisonous and dangerous in a 2019 statement. “Sodium chlorite products are dangerous and you and your family should not use them.”