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Experts Denounce Trump's 'Dangerous' Theories of UV Light and Disinfectant to Kill COVID-19

Politics
Trump looks up toward the solar eclipse without glasses, with first lady Melania Trump from a balcony at the White House in Washington, DC on Aug. 21, 2017. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that warmer weather will kill COVID-19 and allow the country to resume its normal behavior. At a White House press briefing, he theorized dangerously about the power of sunlight, ultraviolet light, and disinfectant injections to rid the body of the novel coronavirus, as The New York Times reported.


"Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light," Trump said at the White House, as The New York Times reported. Referring to William N. Bryan, the head of science at the Department of Homeland Security who told the press that sunlight and disinfectant can kill the virus on surfaces, Trump said, "And I think you said that hasn't been checked, but we're going to test it? And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, either through the skin or some other way."

"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?" Trump asked. "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."

Policy experts, medical experts and even disinfectant companies denounced Trump's claim.

"The very fact that the president actually asked somebody about what sounded like injecting disinfectants or isopropyl alcohol into the human body was kind of jaw-dropping," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, as The Guardian reported.

Lysol took the extraordinary step of releasing a statement that nobody should ingest their product.

"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)," said British-based Lysol manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser, in a statement, as CNN reported.

Medical experts said that Trump's suggestions were dangerous and already proven not to work, so there was no reason to investigate their efficacy.

"This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible and it's dangerous," Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert, told NBC News, as the BBC reported. "It's a common method that people utilize when they want to kill themselves."

"Inhaling chlorine bleach would be absolutely the worst thing for the lungs," pulmonologist John Balmes told Bloomberg News, as the BBC reported. "The airway and lungs are not made to be exposed to even an aerosol of disinfectant. Not even a low dilution of bleach or isopropyl alcohol is safe. It's a totally ridiculous concept."

At the briefing, William Bryan also suggested that heat and humidity might negatively affect the virus. Yet many countries in hot and humid climates such as Singapore, Brazil and Indonesia have seen the virus spread. Furthermore, as The New York Times noted, a committee of the National Academy of Sciences looked exclusively at humidity and temperature earlier in April. The committee found that they would have a minimal impact on the virus.

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