President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
Michael Reynolds | EPA | Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Donald Trump on Friday attempted to walk back his dangerous and unfounded speculation about whether injecting disinfectants can help to treat Covid-19.
Experts, health officials and the maker of Lysol, a household disinfectant brand, urged Americans not to attempt to inject or consume the cleaning product after the president raised the idea at a White House press briefing on Thursday night.
Trump told reporters on Friday that his comments were sarcastic, according to a pool report.
At the Thursday press briefing, Trump said, “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute. One minute.”
“Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that,” he said.
The White House said earlier Friday that Trump had “repeatedly said” Americans should consult their doctors about coronavirus treatment and accused journalists of taking the president’s comments out of context.
Trump, who is facing reelection this year and is eager to get the economy back on its feet, has pointed to a range of potential treatments and cures for coronavirus despite the lack of adequate testing.
For weeks, Trump has pointed to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, antimalarial drugs, as potential saviors, even as his administration’s top health agencies have not endorsed either to treat the new virus.
A doctor who was recently removed from his post overseeing the federal agency that is rushing to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus said in a statement this week that he was ousted after pushing back on the two drugs.
In the statement, Dr. Rick Bright said that he “limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit.”
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