The company behind Lysol had to step in this week with a warning for the public after President Donald Trump suggested that disinfectants like those the company makes could be used internally as a treatment for the Coronavirus. Trump made the suggestion for a study examining the effects of internal usage of these disinfectants after an administration official presented findings about the effects of the substances on Coronavirus outside the body. Reckitt Benckiser (RB), which manufactures Lysol and other cleaning supplies, issued a public statement this week insisting that “under no circumstance” should its products be used internally. Although they didn’t mention Trump by name in the statement, the connection was obvious.
Citing what they called “recent speculation and social media activity,” which led to them having “been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus,” they stated:
‘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). 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.’
It’s a true wonder that we live in an age when the president of the United States has to be reminded to read the label before suggesting the ingestion of some kind of disinfectant.
UV light? Injecting disinfectant?
Here’s an idea, Mr. President: more tests. Now. And protective equipment for actual medical professionals. https://t.co/Zv4Mfs2Z4a
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 24, 2020
On Thursday, when he issued the comments in question at a White House press conference, he did not sound like he had any idea whatsoever what he was talking about.
He commented to those in the room:
‘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.’
Is Trump aware of the nature of medical treatment in the first place? Antivirals and antibiotics are meant to, in fact, clean the pathogens out of the body.
"This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it's dangerous," said Dr. Vin Gupta. "Any amount of bleach or isopropyl alcohol … is inappropriate for ingestion … Small amounts are deadly." https://t.co/C3NLP4NmpL
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 24, 2020
Trump is not particularly profound for suggesting that those developing treatments for the Coronavirus should look at taking the pathogen out of the body. And you surely don’t need to inject some kind of disinfectant to accomplish that aim, which is shared by medicine at-large already.
Trump later added:
‘It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area.’
What on earth is he even talking about? This is the same guy, it’s worth noting, who once proclaimed in a speech that he’s “never understood wind.” And this is also the same guy who Americans are expected to trust to lead the Coronavirus response. He’s kept congratulating himself for a supposed job well done even as the death toll climbs. This week, it passed 50,000 in the U.S.