New York City’s Poison Control Centre saw a spike in the number of people ingesting household cleaners after United States President Donald Trump raised the possibility of using disinfectant inside people’s bodies to fight the coronavirus.
The non-profit National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the centre registered 30 cases in an 18-hour period ending at 3pm on Friday (April 24), as opposed to only 13 cases for the same timeframe a year ago.
Nine of the cases were related to exposure to Lysol, 10 were “specifically about bleach” and 11 were exposures to other household cleaners, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokesman Pedro Frisneda told NPR.
At a news briefing on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported that the US leader stunned the world by saying doctors might treat people infected with the coronavirus by shining ultraviolet light inside their bodies, or with injections of household disinfectant.
“Then I see the disinfectant, where 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.
After a strong rebuff of his suggestion by top medical experts and disinfectant manufacturers, Mr Trump on Friday claimed he had been speaking “sarcastically”.
“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,” he told journalists on Friday.
Household products makers alarmed over Trump’s Covid-19 proposal
Anyone who watched the classic Winona Ryder romantic comedy Heather’s from the 1980’s knows that consuming cleaning products can kill people — but perhaps the President of the United States hasn’t seen the movie.
After a press conference on Thursday where President Donald Trump discussed his current thoughts on COVID-19 and treatment, Lysol and other cleaning product brands, as well as doctors, are urging people not to inject themselves with disinfectants and cleaning products that could be deadly.
Why? Yesterday, Trump posited that people should perhaps use light or heat to kill the virus, or that we should even be looking into doctors injecting people with cleaning products as a COVID-19 treatment.
“I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” Trump asked at the conference, adding, “‘Cause 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 gonna have to use medical doctors.”
The makers of Lysol have since released statements warning against the internal use of the company’s cleaning products — or any cleaning products in general. “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),” a spokesperson for Lysol said in a statement to NBC News.
“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,” the statement continued. The company also explained it has a “responsibility in providing consumers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts.”
According to the medical experts who have commented thus far, Trump is wrong about the effects that bleach would have on people’s health and curing COVID-19. What injecting oneself with cleaning products would actually do is attack the body with poisons that are nearly impossible to survive.
This isn’t the first time Trump has suggested an untested method as a cure, either. Earlier this month, he suggested looking into hydroxycloroquine, which is an anti-malaria drug often used to treat lupus patients. Dr. Anthony Fauci stepped in to disagree with him on the benefits of this drug, and warned that positioning it as a cure would be detrimental to those who actually need it.
Now, social media is once again reacting to the remarks coming from the White House, expressing the dangers of even suggesting cleaning product ingestion as a solution to COVID-19. The hashtag #DontDrinkBleach and #InjectDisinfectant are both trending on Twitter (along with Tide Pods, in case you forgot what happened there).
Not, it seems the Lysol brand is on the frontlines in an entirely different way — and perhaps one they never imagined possible — telling customers not to put these products in their bodies.