By Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch
President Donald Trump floated the idea of using ultraviolet light inside the human body or a disinfectant by “injection” as a treatment for coronavirus at his press briefing, a suggestion doctors called “dangerous.”
“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,” he 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,” the president said Thursday.
On Friday, Trump said he was not being serious: “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.” His original comments drew widespread criticism from health professionals and Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Lysol and Dettol.
When asked by a reporter whether Trump was suggesting disinfectant as an injection, the president replied, “No. Of course not...It was said sarcastically. It was put in the form of a question to a group of extraordinary hostile people. Namely, the fake news media.”
‘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.’
Also Friday, Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, released a statement, “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.”
Vin Gupta, a global-health policy expert, told NBC News /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA -2.31% : “This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it’s dangerous. It’s a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves.”
Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser /zigman2/quotes/204605475/composite RBGPF -0.22% said Friday , “Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”
“As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines,” it added. “We have a responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts.”
MarketWatch photo illustration/iStockphoto
Speaking of his earlier comments, Trump also told the press conference Friday: “When I was asking a sarcastic — a very sarcastic — question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside, but it does kill it, and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better.”
The president added that tests have been carried out on the effects of sun, heat and disinfectant on the novel coronavirus. “They’ve been doing these tests for a number of month,” he said. “And the result — so then I said, ‘Well, how do we do it inside the body or even outside the body with the hands and disinfectant I think would work.’ He thinks it would work.”
“When you use it when you’re doing your hands,” Trump added. “I guess that’s one of the reasons they say wash your hands, but whether it’s washing hands or disinfectant on your hands, it’s very good. So, they’re going to start looking at that. And there is a way of, you know, if light — if sun, sun itself that sun has a tremendous impact on or kills it...”
Before Trump clarified his comments on Friday, CNN /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T -1.96% correspondent and neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta also hit back at the suggestion of using disinfectant, and said, “I think everybody would know that would be dangerous and counterproductive, and not at all moving us in the right direction.”
Gupta added that it’s not a good use of time to spend researching such high-risk experiments. “I mean, we know the answer to this one. There’s a lot of things out there we don’t know the answers to and we need to investigate.”
‘Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).’
Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser
Trump has repeatedly called CNN “fake news.” He’s warned that efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, are spiraling the U.S. economy into another Great Recession.
The impact has sent the Dow Jones Industrial Index /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -2.56% ricocheting wildly in recent weeks, with stocks plummeting before recovering and then disappointing again. Trump said he will decide when to reopen the economy and said his “authority is total.”
McEnany, the White House press secretary, said the media did not report the president’s comments accurately: “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines,” she said Friday. (Hear the president’s full comments here .)
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for more than three decades and one of the leading experts in the U.S. on infectious diseases, has said a vaccine will take at least 12 to 18 months, and that the virus will decide the timeline of reopening.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appealed to the federal government for more testing in New York, the epicenter of the virus, but he also said that there were signs of flattening the curve of new cases, helped by wearing masks and gloves.
Cuomo said reopening is both an economic question and a public health question, and he won't choose between lives and dollars. He said the “valve” of economic activity must be slowly turned on, when it happens, and said it will happen at different times across the state.
Worldwide, there were 2,766,611 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 194,456 fatalities, as of Friday afternoon. There were 883,826 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 50,373 deaths; 16,388 were in New York City, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.