Trump Wildly Speculates That Injecting Disinfectant Into Sick People Could Kill Virus

President Donald Trump speaks with Vice President Mike Pence and members of the coronavirus task force during a briefing at the White House on April 23, 2020. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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April 24, 2020 9:41 a.m.

Can COVID-19 be cured by injecting disinfectant or… shining light into the body? No. Did the President suggest as much in a press briefing Thursday? Let’s go to the tape.

“Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful — light,” he said, turning the government infectious disease expert Deborah Birx.

“And I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it? And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that, too? Sounds interesting.”

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The President just kept going, pivoting from ultraviolet light as a bunk COVID-19 cure to plain old disinfectant.

A Department of Homeland Security science and technology adviser, William Bryan, had said earlier that light and disinfectant were effective in killing the novel virus on surfaces and in the air, but Trump didn’t seem to register the difference between disinfecting a park bench and an infected person’s lungs.

“And then I see that disinfectant knocks it out in a minute. Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” he asked. “Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs.”

“It’d be interesting to check that,” he said, staring at Bryan. “So that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with.”

Later, ABC’s Jon Karl donned a straight face and asked Bryan, referring to bleach and isopropyl alcohol, “There’s no scenario where that would be injected into a person, is there?”

“No,” Bryan referred. “I’m here to talk about the findings that we had in the study.”

Trump butted in again: “We’re talking about almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if its on a stationary object.”

The President followed up again later, turning to Bryan: “If they’re outside and their hands are exposed to the sun, would that kill it as though it were a piece of metal or something else?”

“I don’t want to say it will at the same rate,” Bryan said, before stopping himself. Given that the virus lives longer on non-porous surfaces, the DHS official said, “In theory, what you said is correct.”

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