Remarks President Donald Trump made during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Thursday, April 23, turned into viral headlines and prompted health officials to issue urgent reminders
The comments in question seemed to suggest the president wanted to test whether doctors could inject people with disinfectants to fight COVID-19.
But there was some confusion about the statement so we set out to VERIFY what Trump said and the safety concerns.
Did President Trump say that? Is it safe to inject or ingest disinfectants?
The president did initially make a remark about injecting “disinfectants” in his press conference on Thursday, but he contradicted that statement soon after.
Then on Friday, he told reporters his comment was meant to be sarcastic. Regardless of what he meant to say, it’s not safe to inject or ingest disinfectants for any purpose.
WHAT WE FOUND
Trump made the statement about 27 minutes into the press conference. It’s about a third of the way down the official White House transcript.
After Acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the DHS William Bryan described testing of sunlight, heat and disinfectants to fight the virus, Trump said, “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.”
When a reporter asked a follow-up question regarding that statement, Trump said, “It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.”
So he did suggest injections of disinfectants, but soon after said he wasn’t talking about injections. And the president has since said that the original remark about injections was supposed to be sarcastic.
What is clear, however, is that injections or ingestion of disinfectants is a bad idea.
Reckitt Benckiser, the company that owns Lysol, said in a statement, “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). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines.”
The American Cleaning Institute, a trade association of over 100 household cleaning manufacturers, said, “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.”
Finally, on the EPA’s list of disinfectants that can fight the coronavirus, they say, “These products are for use on surfaces, NOT humans.”
Ingesting disinfectants could cause serious or even fatal effects. A CDC report from the beginning of this week -- before Trump’s press conference where he referenced injecting disinfectants -- found that there has been an increase in calls to poison centers regarding incidents with cleaners and disinfectants since the start of the outbreak.
A spokesperson for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said after Trump's comments on Thursday, Maryland's Emergency Management Agency received more than 100 calls to its hotline asking about disinfectant use and COVID-19.
Simply put, use your disinfectants and cleaners as directed on their containers. Don’t mix them with anything else and don’t ingest them.
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