Coronavirus: New York sees spike in disinfectant exposure cases following Trump’s dangerous treatment musings

US president’s false suggestions regarding use of cleaning agent widely condemned

Tom Embury-Dennis
Saturday 25 April 2020 15:05
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Trump claims he was being sarcastic over comments about injecting disinfectants

New York revealed a spike in cases of disinfectant exposure in the 18 hours following Donald Trump’s dangerous and false suggestion that injecting the cleaning agent could help treat coronavirus patients.

The city’s Poison Control Centre managed 30 cases from Thursday evening until Friday afternoon, a spokesperson told New York Daily News – more than double the number of cases the centre dealt with over the same period last year.

It followed an extraordinary White House press briefing on Thursday that saw the US president wrongly tout the potential of disinfectants injected inside the body to treat Covid-19.

“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,“ Mr Trump said.

Following the briefing, the Poison Control Centre reported: nine cases of possible exposure to Lysol, a US brand of disinfectant; 10 cases regarding bleach; and 11 to household cleaners generally.

That compared to just 13 cases over the same 2019 period.

On Friday, Mr Trump claimed his comments had been “sarcastic”, although both video footage and a transcript of the press briefing suggested otherwise.

“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters ... to see what would happen,” the president said on Friday as he signed another coronavirus relief bill into law.

But Mr Trump’s dangerous musings were condemned by experts, and forced makers of commercial cleaning products to warn customers against ingesting them.

“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),” said a statement from the parent of the company that makes Lysol and Dettol, Reckitt Benckiser.

The US surgeon general’s office also tweeted a reminder to all Americans: “Please always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/ medication to yourself or a loved one.”

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