The Hill

Trump Takes No Responsibility For Rise In Disinfectant Intake In US

Some government officials have called out President Donald Trump for promoting the use of disinfectants to manage COVID-19. But the country’s chief seemed clueless about the impact of his remarks. 

Trump said he "can't imagine why" emergency calls about disinfectants increased after he announced that injecting the substance could help treat the coronavirus disease. But governors of Michigan and Maryland said the president’s remarks clearly encouraged people to consider the potentially harmful approach, the BBC reported Tuesday.

The remarks came Thursday after a Department of Homeland Security official presented the results of a research that found bleach could kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces in minutes. 

"I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute," Trump said. "And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?"

Disinfectants can be poisonous if ingested. Maryland recorded hundreds of calls in the past week asking whether injecting or ingesting disinfectants could help combat coronavirus.

The calls prompted the state’s governor office to issue a statewide warning against the president's remarks to ingest or inject disinfectants. However, the president said he will not take responsibility at all for the issue. 

"I can't imagine why," Trump said at a White House news conference. 

He later admitted that he was being sarcastic when he said humans may take the disinfectants. Trump explained that he was only prompting officials to analyze the effect of disinfectant on hands, not through injection or ingestion, CNN reported Tuesday.

"I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen," Trump said.

Illinois also saw a significant increase in calls after the president’s disinfectant remarks. One resident used a detergent based solution for a sinus rinse and another person reported gargling with a bleach and mouthwash mixture to kill germs, according to Illinois Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also released a reminder on using household disinfectants properly a day after Trump made the remarks.

"I think it is critical that the President of the United States, when people are really scared and in the middle of this worldwide pandemic, that in these press conferences, that we really get the facts out there," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told Margaret Brennan on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Donald Trump President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Gage Skidmore/flickr

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