Although President Donald Trump said that he was only being “sarcastic” when he mused on April 23 that injecting household disinfectants could possibly cure coronavirus, poison control centers have since reported spikes in people ingesting bleach and other disinfectants.
Barely 18 hours after Trump’s public statement, the New York City Poison Control Center received more than double its usual amount of calls including nine people who had Lysol exposure, 10 who had bleach exposure, and 11 who had exposure to other household cleaners. “Exposure” in this case means a dangerous contact that potentially threatens a person’s health or well being.
Though none of the calls reportedly resulted in death or hospitalization, poisonings from household disinfectants were already on the rise during the epidemic, partly due to children experimenting at home and adults trying to disinfect their living spaces.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that calls to state and local poison control centers tied to cleaners and disinfectants rose 20% in the first quarter to 45,550. Lysol, local elected leaders and health departments have also posted messages since Trump’s comment telling people not to ingest household disinfectants.
CNN anchorperson Anderson Cooper recently called out Trump for his comments and even British TV personality Piers Morgan called Trump’s suggestion “batsh*t crazy” prompting the president to unfollow him on Twitter.
This follows reports of people poisoning themselves with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine after Trump and Fox News repeatedly pushed it as a potential “game changer” as a coronavirus treatment.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers told Forbes “the number of hydroxychloroquine exposure cases more than doubled from March 18, 2020, to April 6, 2020, compared to the same period last year” — that coincides somewhat with the period of time that Trump and pals started pushing it. A study has also since said that hydroxychloroquine actually causes more deaths than recoveries.
The one upside to all of this is that Trump’s musings about disinfectants may have effectively poisoned his daily coronavirus briefings, compelling him to pull back and possibly discontinue them as the White House fears they’re not just hurting people but his re-election chances as well.