Source: Associated Press – CALVIN WOODWARD and HOPE YEN
Lysol is for toilet bowls and countertops, not human consumption. The company that manufacturers it felt compelled to emphasize the danger of ingesting it after President Donald Trump’s musings about heat, light and disinfectant in the time of coronavirus.
Trump’s thinking-out-loud theories took a turn toward hazmat territory
this past week when he said it would be interesting to see whether people’s innards could get “almost a cleaning” from disinfectants. Doctors tweeted their alarm, worried that people will take Trump’s comment as a cue and swallow chemicals that will harm or kill them.
Trump also gave weight through his bully pulpit to an unproved theory that heat and humidity might hasten the destruction of the coronavirus, suggesting people could be safer around each other in the outdoors.
Research pointing to that possibility is preliminary, other research has found otherwise, and this pandemic has spread in the tropics and Southeast Asia as well as through the northern hemisphere.
Trump followed up Saturday with a baseless boast about testing.
Meantime, Trump’s veterans affairs secretary went even farther than the president in talking up potential benefits of a malaria drug against COVID-19. It’s an area of speculation that his own agency says “displays a dangerous lack of expertise” by amateurs.
TRUMP, on the virus: “I see the disinfectant that 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 … you’re going to have to use medical doctors … but it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.” — briefing Thursday.
THE FACTS: No.
The fact Trump would even flirt with the idea prompted a statement from Reckitt Benckiser, parent company of the maker of Lysol and Dettol, that “under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”
Clorox echoed that bleach and other disinfectants “are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances.”
The U.S. surgeon general’s office moved to discourage people from thinking they can self-medicate from something in the house: “PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/medication to yourself or a loved one.”
As the blowback unfolded, Trump said Friday he was being sarcastic the day before.
SUNLIGHT & HEAT
TRUMP, on an unproved theory that sunlight, heat and humidity can destroy the virus faster than inside the house: “I hope people enjoy the sun. And if it has an impact, that’s great. … And if heat is good, and if sunlight is good, that’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned.”
THE FACTS: Sunlight may be a disinfectant for the spirit and outdoor exercise is recommended in today’s social isolation, but there’s no proof it will make the pandemic go away. Without declaring that it would, Trump is again giving traction to a theory that could prompt people to let down their guard around others outside.
Wlliam Bryan, who leads the Homeland Security Department’s science and technology directorate, told the briefing about incomplete, “emerging results” from research that suggest solar light, heat and humidity might be effective at neutralizing the virus. Past studies have not found good evidence of that.
Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief, said in March that “it’s a false hope to say yes, it will just disappear in the summertime like influenza.” Trump said early in the outbreak he expected it to end with the warmer weather of April.