You should not drink bleach or isopropyl alcohol, or huff cleaning products or ingest any other kind of poisonous cleaning chemicals, no matter what the president says. But don't just take our word for it; the makers of Lysol and Dettol, two leading disinfectant products, agree.
"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)," Reckitt Benckiser, the company that produces Lysol, said on Thursday (April 23), per BuzzFeed News. "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."
The statement came shortly after President Donald Trump seemingly wondered aloud if it was possible to cure COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, by "cleaning" the human body the way you might clean a kitchen countertop. For the record, that is not possible.
"I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute," he said during the White House's daily press briefing on Thursday. "Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it [the virus] gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that."
To be clear: It is not possible to safely inject isopropyl alcohol, bleach, or other disinfectant into the body. These products are toxic, and potentially fatal if consumed.
"You may not die of COVID-19 after injecting disinfectant, but only because you may already be dead from the injection," Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the CBC.
Trump also suggested that doctors try treating patients with "ultraviolet or just a very powerful light," after a Department of Homeland Security official said that "emerging results" show the virus can be killed on non-human surfaces if exposed to solar light, per NBC News.
This isn't the first time that the President's coronavirus theories have endangered the general public. In February, he repeatedly downplayed the pandemic's risks and suggested on February 26 that "within a couple of days [the number of infected people] is going to be down to close to zero." As of this post's publication, at least 50,000 people in the United States have died from complications resulting from contracting the virus. In March, a man died after he and his wife poisoned themselves by self-medicating with an aquarium cleaner containing chloroquine phosphate; they recognized the ingredient from the president's press conferences, in which he endorsed a theory that chloroquine, an anti-malarial medication, might help prevent COVID-19 symptoms. A study released on April 21 found that not only were there more deaths among COVID-19 patients who have been given the medication, but that it also resulted in organ damage.
There is currently no known cure for the coronavirus, though researchers are racing the clock to find a vaccine. On Friday (April 24), Bill Gates told the Today show, "Usually a vaccine takes over five years because you have many steps." His eponymous Gates Foundation is funding simultaneous testing for potential vaccines in an effort to circumvent that timeline. "Because of all the incredibly negative effects, the sooner the better," he said.