President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of an “injection” of disinfectant into a person infected with coronavirus as a coronavirus deterrent at the White House daily briefing on Thursday.
Trump made the remark after Bill Bryan, a Department of Homeland Security official who leads the department's Science and Technology division gave a presentation on research his team has conducted that shows the virus does not live as long in warmer and more humid temperatures. Bryan said, “the virus dies quickest in sunlight," leaving Trump to wonder whether you could bring the light "inside the 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 Bryan 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."
He added, "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."
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He did not specify the kind of disinfectant.
The president has repeatedly touted unproven treatments during the briefings for COVID-19. For instance, he has touted hydroxychloroquine and as a potential "game changer" in the battle against the coronavirus, but health officials have strongly cautioned against it.
An Arizona man died in late March after ingesting chloroquine phosphate — believing it would protect him from becoming infected with the coronavirus. The man's wife told NBC News she'd watched televised briefings during which Trump talked about the potential benefits of chloroquine.
Dr. Rick Bright, a top official at Health and Human Services says he was ousted from his job this week for pushing back on demands that he sign off on chloroquine treatments.
Bryan, under questioning from reporters, later said federal laboratories are not considering such a treatment option. He added that heat and humidity alone wouldn’t kill the virus if people don’t continue to social distance.
Later asked to clarify, Bryan said this is not the kind of work he does in his lab, before Trump jumped in and added, “maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work.”
When discussing the possibility of heat killing the virus, the president turned to Dr. Deborha Birx, one of the nation's top doctors, who was seated to the side, if she’s ever heard about heat killing the virus in humans.
She said she hasn’t heard of this “as a treatment” but added that having a fever is what the body does to kill a virus.Dartunorro Clark
Dartunorro Clark is a political reporter for NBC News.