No, you cannot treat the coronavirus with light and heat, or by ingesting disinfectants
Trump’s daily coronavirus briefings are becoming yet still more unhinged and dystopian. At a briefing this week, following a doctor’s sharing of a study that found light, heat, and disinfectants can kill the coronavirus on surfaces, Trump derailed much of the rest of the briefing by claiming the same methods can be applied to kill the virus in the human body.
“So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light — and I think you said that hasn’t been checked because of the testing,” Trump said, speaking to Bill Bryan, who leads the Department of Homeland Security’s science and technology division during the briefing. “And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too.”
“I see the disinfectant that 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? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”
Trump asks Bill Bryan to speak to medical doctors to see if they can use heat and light to treat coronavirus.
Brings in Dr Birx to ask if she had come across this kind of strategy …
"Not as a treatment," she says.
— Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) April 23, 2020
Trump actually suggested a possible coronavirus treatment could be to inject disinfectant into people’s lungs. Now I’m not a doctor. You’re probably not a doctor. But if you can read that with a straight face you probably need to see a doctor.
This is President Trump talking to a Department of Homeland Security official about the prospect of injecting disinfectant as a treatment for Covid-19
(The DHS official was talking about how warmer weather and sunlight will help kill the coronavirus on objects/surfaces) pic.twitter.com/0aOOJ3H679
— Lev Facher (@levfacher) April 23, 2020
For anyone wondering, the answer is no. It takes 15 minutes at 132 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the coronavirus, which would cause serious burns. It’s not safe for the human body to be exposed to the amount of UV radiation it would take to kill any virus (you think tanning beds are bad for us?). And disinfectant? Is the president advocating for a resurgence of the Tide Pod Challenge? Who in their right mind thinks surface disinfectant can be applied to the inside of human bodies?
Despite his own doctors present at the briefing telling him this idea was completely ludicrous, Trump continued to say it over and over.
Trump: "I would like you to speak to the medicla doctors to see if there's any way you can apply light and heat to cure. You know? If you could. And maybe you can, maybe you can't … I'm not a doctor."
Dr. Birx, asked if she's heard of heat as a treatment: "Not as a treatment."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 23, 2020
He also claimed he’s convinced DHS officials to test the efficacy of using light as a coronavirus treatment “through the skin.” Because DHS has nothing better to do right now, we’re sure.
Trump says he asked DHS science officials, upon hearing light can kill the virus, if the light can be used to "hit the body" or even used "inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way." He says they'll test it. pic.twitter.com/UUmYNrEeIP
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 23, 2020
When reporters at the coronavirus briefing pressed the president for more details, his response was, “I’m the president and you’re fake news,” which sounds like a satirical version of something he might say at a public press briefing, but nope! It actually happened!
Dr. Deborah Birx is asked about the heat/light claim by the President — and she says as a treatment she's not heard about it. Trump says "i'm the president and you're fake news," when the reporter presses for answers.
— Katie Simpson (@CBCKatie) April 23, 2020
Trump also did admit that he’s not a doctor, but followed that up by saying people should trust his medical advice because he’s “like, a person that has a very big you-know-what,” while pointing at his head.
Trump also suggested the possibility of injecting disinfectants as a treatment. "Maybe you can, maybe you can’t… I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what," Trump said, pointing to his head. https://t.co/XzRMlHcXIW
— The Hill (@thehill) April 24, 2020
Now real doctors all over the country are speaking out, because not only is this coronavirus advice wrong, it’s dangerous. Light and heat can disinfect surfaces in your home, but they will not treat the coronavirus when it’s inside the cells of your body, which is where viruses go when they infect you. And disinfectant? What, are we supposed to drink Lysol or bleach? That will kill you faster than any virus.
Trump is absolutely wrong and irresponsible to suggest that sunlight or heat can treat people with the coronavirus. Many older individuals, who are vulnerable to heat stroke and dehydration, may die listening to his advice. Sunlight and heat can decontaminate surfaces not people.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) April 23, 2020
This is just another reminder that Trump isn’t doing these briefings to spread good information or to save lives. He’s doing them for attention. If you want good information on the coronavirus, you need to get it from actual professionals.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.