Fact-checking Trump: No, you cannot inject disinfectant to treat COVID-19

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Trump floated the idea of treating COVID-19 by injecting people with disinfectant, which is dangerous and should absolutely not be attempted.

Donald Trump on Thursday made one of his most wild and dangerous claims about the coronavirus yet when he floated the idea of injecting people battling COVID-19 with disinfectant.

Since his remarks, the makers of popular disinfectants and Trump's own Environmental Protection Agency have come out to say disinfectant should only be used on surfaces, as directed, and should not be injected because it is harmful to humans.

Trump raised the idea after William Bryan, who leads the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, said at Thursday's daily White House coronavirus briefing that his department is testing whether the coronavirus can be killed on surfaces and in the air by ultraviolet light, heat, humidity, and certain disinfectants.

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Trump then wondered aloud if you could treat humans infected with the virus with UV light and disinfectants injected into the body.

Trump said:

"So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn't been checked, but you're going to test it.

 

And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you're going to test that too. It sounds interesting.

 

"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 almost a cleaning.

 

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."

It doesn't take an expert to know that ingesting disinfectants in any way is dangerous. But numerous experts have come out to debunk Trump's claim and warn against taking his idea seriously.

Reckitt — the maker of the popular household cleaner, Lysol — issued a warning Friday morning about Trump's comments.

"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)," the company said in a news release, adding bolding to drive their point home. "As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information."

Dr. Hilary Jones, a general practitioner in the U.K. who often does television appearances, went on "Good Morning Britain" to explain why disinfectant is dangerous and wouldn't treat COVID-19.

"It's not only toxic and highly poisonous but would do no good whatsoever," Jones said. "It would cause inflammation of human tissues, and not touch the virus at all, which actually lives in human cells, not on the surface of them. So he is completely and utterly crazy to suggest this."

And Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, said Thursday night there is no need to test the idea, as Trump suggested.

"We know the answer to this one," Gupta told host Anderson Cooper, saying injecting disinfectant is simply not a serious idea.

"There's a lot of things out there that we don't know the answers to and need to investigate, but the idea that we would do a trial of some sort and inject people with disinfectant and some people not and see what happens, as you point out, I think everybody would know that that would be dangerous and counterproductive and not at all moving us in the right direction," Gupta said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.