Fact-checking: From Disinfectants To Cure COVID-19 And Other Trump Lapses

Washington – Lysol is for toilets and kitchen tops, not for human consumption. The company that makes it felt compelled to emphasize the danger of ingesting it after President Donald Trump’s comments about heat, light and disinfectant as the emergency is being dealt with by COVID-19.

Trump’s theories aloud took a turn toward dangerous ground last week when he said it would be interesting to see if people’s guts could get “almost clean” by using disinfectants.

Immediately, doctors tweeted out of concern that people take Trump’s comment seriously and swallow chemicals that will harm or kill them.

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Trump also commented on an unproven theory that heat and humidity could accelerate the destruction of the coronavirus, suggesting that people might be safer outside. The research that points to that possibility is preliminary, other research has found the opposite, and this pandemic has spread in the tropics and Southeast Asia, as well as throughout the northern hemisphere.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie went even further than the president in talking about the possible benefits of an antimalarial drug for serving patients with COVID-19. It is an area of ​​speculation that his own agency says “shows a dangerous lack of experience” on the part of fans.

Below, we contrast the comments they have made:

1. What Trump said about disinfectants: “I see the disinfectant, which knocks it out (to the coronavirus) in a minute, a minute, and if there is a way to do something like that by injecting it into (the body), almost like a cleaning”.

FALSE: The fact that Trump even flirted with the idea prompted a statement by Reckitt Benckiser, the parent company of the manufacturer of Lysol and Dettol, which emphasized that “under no circumstances should our disinfectant products be administered to the human body (by injection, ingestion or any other route) “.

Clorox echoed these statements, saying that bleach and other disinfectants “are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances.”

The United States Office of the Surgeon General also moved to discourage people from thinking that they can self-medicate with these products: “PLEASE always talk to your healthcare provider before giving any treatment or medication to yourself or a loved one “

After receiving all the criticism, Trump said Friday that he was being sarcastic the day before.

2. What Trump said according to an unproven theory that sunlight, heat, and humidity can destroy the virus faster: “I hope people enjoy the sun. And if it has an impact, that’s great … And if the heat is good, and if the sunlight is good, that’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned. “

THE FACTS: Outdoor exercise is recommended in today’s social isolation, but there is no evidence that it will make the pandemic go away. Without declaring that he would, Trump is again pushing a theory that could incite people to let their guard down around others outside.

William Bryan, who is in charge of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology directorate, said during a briefing that incomplete “emerging results” of research suggest that sunlight, heat and humidity may be effective in neutralizing the virus. Previous studies have found no good evidence of that.

Dr. Michael Ryan, head of Emergencies at the World Health Organization, in March that “it is a false hope to say yes, it will just go away in the summer like the flu.” Trump mentioned earlier in the outbreak that he hoped it would end the hottest April weather.

3. What Trump said about the chances of the virus coming back in the fall: “If it comes back, it won’t come back, and I’ve talked to 10 different people, it’s not going to be like before … The coronavirus may not even come back. , just so you understand. “

THE FACTS: Your public health officials instantly refuted that the coronavirus will not return. As for his statement that it won’t be that bad in a second round, that’s more complicated.

“There will be coronaviruses in the fall,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert. “I am convinced of that by the degree of transmissibility it has, the global nature.”

“Next fall and winter, we are going to have two viruses circulating, and we are going to have to distinguish between what is influenza and what is coronavirus,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, in English).

How serious it really is will be determined by a number of factors that cannot be accurately predicted. Redfield said the situation may be more difficult than now because coronavirus and influenza will circulate at the same time, unlike most of the current pandemic. Or it may be less difficult if the preparations and social distancing measures are better than now.

4. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie asked if it is safe to encourage people to take hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment: “Oh, I think so.”

THE FACTS: That’s not what the government’s top health experts have been saying for weeks or what your own agency has suggested. A new alert Friday from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) further underscored why the drug cannot be considered generally safe in this pandemic and why it has not been approved for the treatment of COVID-19. .

Last month, the FDA authorized the limited emergency use of antimalarial drugs for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who are not enrolled in ongoing clinical trials. But regulators said they are investigating the life-threatening side effects reported to health authorities.

In one of those reports, doctors at a New York hospital said heart rhythm abnormalities developed in most of the 84 coronavirus patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, a combination Trump has promoted as part of his persistent and inaccurate description of the malaria medicine as a game changer

The drug has long been used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Some very small preliminary studies suggested that it could help prevent coronavirus from entering cells and possibly help patients eliminate the virus earlier.

Wilkie leads the largest healthcare system in the country. The health care arm of its own agency has criticized premature evaluations of the effectiveness of the drug for coronavirus. In an unsigned response to an audit report last month examining whether Veterans had sufficient access to the drug, the agency’s senior health officials called it “inaccurate and irresponsible” to assume that hydroxychloroquine would benefit veterans for COVID-19. .

“There are active investigations into these drugs and many others, as discussed by Dr. Anthony Fauci,” according to unsigned Veterans’ response to the agency’s inspector general. However, no conclusions have been reached on its effectiveness. Insisting that a 14-day supply of these drugs is appropriate or not shows this dangerous lack of experience with COVID-19 and the response to the pandemic. “

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