In a bizarre, even for Donald Trump, White House coronavirus daily briefing, the president pitched his ideas on whether disinfectants or ultraviolet light could be used to cure coronavirus patients.
Trump directed some of his scientific genius at William Bryan, the secretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, who attended the briefing.
“Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that it hasn’t been checked, and you’re going to test it,” Trump suggested to Bryan and other health officials in the room.
The president continued, “The disinfectant, where it knocks the [coronavirus] 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… so it’d be interesting to check that.”
— Pod Save America (@PodSaveAmerica) April 23, 2020
Here is Dr. Birx’s reaction when President Trump asks his science advisor to study using UV light on the human body and injecting disinfectant to fight the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/MVno5X7JMA
— Daniel Lewis (@Daniel_Lewis3) April 24, 2020
Trump’s dim lightbulb went off after he followed the secretary to the podium, where Bryan had spoken about research his team had conducted that showed signs of the virus weakening in warmer and more humid temperatures. “The virus dies quickest in sunlight,” Bryan said.
There’s a real danger in the president just riffing about possible remedies. While Trump didn’t name a specific disinfectant, it’s very possible someone may attempt to self-treat using his recommendation and harm themselves in the process.
The president has repeatedly promoted unproven treatments for COVID-19 during the briefings and even though other governmental health officials advised the public not to, some who have stated they have tried untested drugs endorsed by the president, like hydroxychloroquine, wound up facing dire and even deadly consequences. And a recent study on hydroxychloroquine found that it actually caused more deaths. Coronavirus patients treated with the drug died at a significantly higher rate (28 percent) than those given normal treatments without it (11 percent).
It’s not only the president’s blatant spreading of disinformation that is harmful. It’s also his refusal to abide by recommendations from experts, like wearing a mask. A Brooklyn woman, whose husband supported the president and died of the coronavirus after he contracted it on a cruise, told the New York Times, “If Trump had gone on TV with a mask on and said, ‘Hey this is serious,’ I don’t think he would have gone [on the trip].”
It’s more proof that Trump’s ad-libbing ramblings are not benign. They have real-world consequences, and Americans are paying the price.