Coronavirus: Donald Trump says spoke 'sarcastically' about injecting disinfectants

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Donald Trump, United States, White House, sarcastic, disinfectants, coronavirus, Covid-19
Donald Trump's comment about disinfectants caused widespread confusion and alarm on April 24, 2020.

Washington, United States - U.S President wanted to see 'what would happen' after claiming he made the controversial remarks to reporters when in fact he had asked government scientists about his suggestion.

By AFP/Reuters

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Published: Fri 24 Apr 2020, 10:10 PM

Last updated: Sat 25 Apr 2020, 12:34 AM

President Donald Trump on Friday played down a furore over his suggestion that people could try injecting disinfectants to fight the novel coronavirus, claiming he was being sarcastic.
"I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen," he told journalists at the White House.
During a press conference late Thursday, Trump turned to government scientists in the room and asked them about the role of disinfectants in killing the coronavirus.
"It knocks (the virus) 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," he said.
Trump now says he was talking to a journalist, putting "a sarcastic question to a reporter."
In fact, he was talking directly to a Department of Homeland Security official in the briefing room, Bill Bryan.
Sitting alongside Bryan was top White House coronavirus medical advisor Dr Deborah Birx.
Trump often spars with journalists at his daily briefings and he did again Thursday, calling two of them "fake." He also repeated his regular complaints that the media does not treat him fairly and plays down his accomplishments.
However, when discussing the injections, Trump had not even reached the question-and-answer stage of his briefing, and the whole discussion was between him and other officials.
The White House spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnany, said the media had taken "President Trump out of context," but did not say he was being sarcastic.
The comment about the disinfectants caused widespread confusion and alarm Friday.

The parent group of popular household product Lysol said in a statement that "under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)."
Clorox, maker of bleach, said it was critical that everyone understands the facts.
"Bleach and other disinfectants are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances," it said.
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at Britain's University of East Anglia, said injecting disinfectants likely would kill anyone who tried it.
"This is one of the most dangerous and idiotic suggestions made so far in how one might actually treat Covid-19," Hunter told Reuters.
"It is hugely irresponsible because, sadly, there are people around the world who might believe this sort of nonsense and try it out for themselves," Hunter added.
Trump also has promoted an anti-malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine to treat people with Covid-19 even though its effectiveness is unproven and there are concerns about heart issues. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday cautioned against using hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients outside of hospitals and clinical trials, citing risks of serious heart rhythm problems.
The American Cleaning Institute, an group representing the U.S. cleaning products industry, said in a statement, "Disinfectants are meant to kill germs or viruses on hard surfaces. Under no circumstances should they ever be used on one's skin, ingested or injected internally."
Reckitt Benckiser, a British company that manufactures the household disinfectants Dettol and Lysol, issued a statement warning people not to ingest or inject its products.
There were early signs that at least some Americans were preparing to act on Trump's comments. A spokesman for Maryland's governor wrote on Twitter that the state's Emergency Management Agency had received more than 100 calls about the use of bleach to treat COVID-19.
Trump's suggestion unleashed a torrent of ridicule online, with one comedian on social media app TikTok miming the action of injecting bleach into her veins like a drug.
On Twitter, journalists shared a video of Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House task force on the coronavirus, who appeared to look down, hunch her shoulders, and blink rapidly as Trump told the briefing that disinfectant "does a tremendous number on the lungs."
While UV light is known to kill viruses contained in droplets in the air, doctors have said there is no way it could be introduced into the human body to target cells infected with the coronavirus.
"Neither sitting in the sun, nor heating will kill a virus replicating in an individual patient's internal organs," said Penny Ward, a professor in pharmaceutical medicine at Kings College London and chair of the Education and Standards Committee of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine.
"Drinking bleach kills. Injecting bleach kills faster. Don't do either!" she added. Parastou Donyai, director of pharmacy practice and a professor of social and cognitive pharmacy at the University of Reading, said Trump's comments were shocking and unscientific.
Donyai said people worried about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes should seek help from a qualified doctor or pharmacist, and "not take unfounded and off-the-cuff comments as actual advice."
Donyai said previous comments by Trump touting hydroxychloroquine had already been linked to people "mistakenly poisoning themselves."
Robert Reich, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and a former U.S. labor secretary, added on Twitter: "Trump's briefings are actively endangering the public's health. Please don't drink disinfectant."
The suggestion that bleach and related compounds are a "miracle cure" has a history in America's conspiracist fringes.
Last August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a health warning about MMS, or "miracle mineral solution," that was being sold online with instructions to mix it with lemon or lime juice before drinking. The combination forms a powerful, dangerous bleaching agent, the FDA said.
The U.S. Justice Department last week was granted by a court in Florida a temporary injunction to halt the sale of industrial bleach products by an organisation called Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, which was marketing it as a cure for autism and AIDS.

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