DO NOT LISTEN TO TRUMP
Published on April 27th, 2020
The federal government has been wasting precious time and resources to stave off a potential wave of public health emergencies sparked by Trump’s dangerous suggestion that injecting bleach or other household disinfectants into the body might cure people of the novel coronavirus. This is our President. Trump used his bully pulpit to recommend the idea of injecting a disinfectant into one’s body “almost as a cleaning” — a prescription that surprised some aides who said it seemed to come out of nowhere. Now thousands of people have called poison control centers nationwide.
It was only the latest dubious and dangerous tip from a president unraveling and struggling to contain a pandemic that has claimed the lives of at least 55,000 Americans so far with no end in sight.
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said on CNN, “I certainly wouldn’t recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant.” The Environmental Protection Agency advised people never to “ingest disinfectant products.” Surgeon General Jerome Adams implored followers on Twitter to “PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/medication to yourself or a loved one.” And the manufacturer of Lysol said that “under no circumstance” should its disinfectant be administered into the human body.
The CDC had to issue a warning that “household cleaners and disinfectants can cause problems when not used properly.” The CDC is considering what additional health information it may need to release to ensure that people are “not inadvertently harmed by doing something that appears to be endorsed by the president,” said a federal health official.
Patrice A. Harris, president of the American Medical Association, said Friday, “It is unfortunate that I have to comment on this, but people should under no circumstances ingest or inject bleach or disinfectant.”
Public health experts say Trump is dangerous because he has no training in medicine, a proud aversion to studying details and a supreme confidence in his own expertise who loves to speculates about science during a pandemic. Compounding the situation is the spineless physicians advising Trump who refuse to intervene to correct the president’s false statements or refute his ignorant theories.
Later, when asked whether it was dangerous to present unproven scientific theories to the public, Trump defensively snapped: “I’m just here to present talent. I’m here to present ideas, because we want ideas to get rid of this thing.” Trump took no questions at Friday’s unusually short daily briefing.
White House officials and outside advisers were concerned that Trump’s comments could lead to people ingesting bleach or making other questionable decisions, but many were reluctant to contradict him publicly.
An exception was Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner who advises the task force. “There is absolutely no circumstance in which you should ingest a disinfectant or inject it for the treatment of any condition, including coronavirus,” Gottlieb said in a brief interview.
Steve Schmidt, a former top adviser in the George W. Bush White House and a vocal Trump critic, said, “As reckless as it is, it’s absurd that the president of the United States is on a stage telling the American people to shoot up Lysol to cure the virus.”
“These briefings have become a daily symposium on unfitness,” Schmidt said. “He gets up there, he’s completely unprepared, he has no idea what he’s talking about and he says things that shock the conscience and make no sense.”
The Food and Drug Administration had to warn against the use of hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malarial drug that Trump repeatedly has promoted as a “game-changer” miracle cure for covid-19 — because it has been found to cause serious heart rhythm problems. After Trump declared that hydroxychloroquine was a “game-changer” in the fight against the virus, a couple of Arizona Trump supporters noticed the pharmaceutical name matched the label on a bottle of chemicals they used to clean their koi pond. The couple ingested the chemical, chloroquine phosphate, hoping to stave off an infection. The husband died shortly after. The wife barely survived. That incident prompted the CDC to issue a health advisory alert March 28 to thousands of clinicians across the country warning them about dangers of chloroquine phosphate, “which can cause serious health consequences, including death.”
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