Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump participates in the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force at the White House on April 23, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"Please Don't": Doctors Forced to Speak Out as Trump Ponders Aloud Whether Injecting Disinfectants Could Treat Covid-19

"ALERT! Please do not ingest, inject, inhale, or otherwise use any disinfectant outside of its labeled instructions. And do not start using tanning beds or sunning without sunscreen."

Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump used the daily Coronavirus Task Force briefing Thursday night to once again speculate dangerously and ignorantly on possible treatments for the Covid-19, this time rambling about exposing patients to "tremendous" amounts of ultraviolet light or injecting them with household disinfectants.

"This is not willy-nilly, off-the-cuff, maybe-this-will-work advice. This is dangerous."
—Craig Spencer, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center

"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, turning to William Bryan, a top scientist at the Department of Homeland Security. "Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."

"Sounds interesting to me," Trump added.

The president's comments came after Bryan, acting undersecretary for science and technology at DHS, delivered a presentation on tests purportedly showing that sunlight and disinfectants like bleach can kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces.

Trump's response to Bryan's presentation horrified medical professionals, who rushed to social media and the press to warn against ingesting disinfectants or experimenting with extreme light treatments.

"ALERT! Please do not ingest, inject, inhale, or otherwise use any disinfectant outside of its labeled instructions," tweeted Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency physician and executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare. "And do not start using tanning beds or sunning without sunscreen."

"If today didn't convince networks to stop broadcasting the pressers," Davidson added, "nothing will."

"My concern is that people will die," Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, said in an interview with the Washington Post. "People will think this is a good idea. This is not willy-nilly, off-the-cuff, maybe-this-will-work advice. This is dangerous."

Esther Choo, an emergency physician and associate professor at Oregon Health and Science University, noted on Twitter that while Thursday evening was not the first time the president has touted untested treatments for Covid-19, Trump's recommendations are quickly becoming more bizarre and dangerous.

"We've gone from suggesting unproven treatments (hydroxycholorquine) to suggesting things that are known to have unequivocal harm (isopropyl alcohol, bleach)," Choo wrote. "What's next?"

Choo voiced her incredulity in an appearance on MSNBC following the White House briefing.

"Those are things we always worry that kids swallow accidentally," said Choo.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Federal Judge Allows 'Untenable' Plan to Send Juvenile Inmates to Angola Prison

"The move defies all common sense and best practices, and it will cause irrevocable damage to our youth and families," said one children's advocate.

Julia Conley ·

'Catastrophic': Arizona Judge Allows 1864 Abortion Ban to Go Into Effect

"No archaic law should dictate our reproductive freedom," said one rights advocate.

Julia Conley ·

US Progressives Express Solidarity With Iranian Protesters After Death of Mahsa Amini

"The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Julia Conley ·

Critics of Louisiana LNG Project 'Hopeful' as Huge Sales Contracts Canceled

"The fight is not over," says one activist, but "from tax breaks to pollution and now to these recent financial downswings, we have all the evidence we need to understand that Driftwood will be a parasite."

Jessica Corbett ·

DHS Officials Urge Biden to End 'Disastrous Leadership' of Embattled IG

In an anonymous letter, the Homeland Security staffers say Inspector General Joseph Cuffari's actions "embarrass the entire agency."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo