Did Trump actually suggest ingesting disinfectants?

Article written by Kylie Miller.

Americans are being warned (or reminded, hopefully) that it is not safe to ingest bleach and other disinfectants. Some mistakenly thought this could be done as a protective measure against coronavirus. Confusion on the matter evoked after a press conference at the White House.

Last Thursday, the Coronavirus Task Force presented findings that the virus may be less transmittable in higher levels of temperature, humidity, and sunlight. President Trump shared his thoughts on this research.

“Supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other wayhe said.

President Trump encouraged the medical experts on the Coronavirus Task Force to test this theory. Then he took it one step further.

“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.

President Trump’s question sparked a media frenzy. The New York Times published an article with the headline, Please Do Not Eat Disinfectant. It was a popular result for the most common Google searches in the United States on Thursday: “Coronavirus tips” at number one and “Trump disinfectant” at number three.

Americans were confused following the press conference. In addition to searching Google, some turned to their state’s coronavirus resources for answers.

Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, told ABC News,“we had hundreds of calls come in to our emergency hotline in our health department, asking if it was right to ingest Clorox or alcohol cleaning products. Whether that was going to help them fight the virus.”

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency tweeted an alert in response to these calls. 

Local officials also addressed the matter. The Baltimore City Health Department posted a warning on Facebook about not ingesting disinfectants, as well as what to do if someone does.

President Trump publicly defended his remarks at a signing ceremony on Friday. A reporter asked him to clarify the comments he made about disinfectants the day before.

“No, I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen” President Trump responded. He also denied asking the medical experts on the Coronavirus Task Force to look into the possibility of using disinfectants inside the body.

Was President Trump actually being sarcastic? There is no way anyone can know for sure.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper is not convinced. He accused Trump of lying and insisted, “there was no sarcasm.” Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld argued that it doesn’t matter either way.

“Was it sarcasm? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that anyone actually believes that he was saying you should inject Clorox into people” Gutfeld said. 

Putting sarcasm aside, there is one definite truth that the President denied. At Thursday’s press conference, he undoubtedly asked the Coronavirus Task Force about the possibility of using disinfectants inside the body. 

President Trump turned to the medical experts seated to his right and asked, “Is there a way we can do something like that?” He then arguably encouraged them to investigate, saying, “It would be interesting to check that.”

Even if his question was asked sarcastically, it was not directed at reporters as the President claimed.

Regardless, misinformation about coronavirus is dangerous. Ingesting disinfectants is just one example of many falsehoods gaining attention during the coronavirus pandemic.

Doctors are refuting popular posts on social media with medically inaccurate advice and information. Fake news is never good but when it is regarding coronavirus, it can also be a serious health hazard.

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