Donald Trump says his Covid-19 disinfectant comments were 'sarcasm'

24 April 2020, 19:55

President Trump has backtracked on his statement
President Trump has backtracked on his statement. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Donald Trump has backtracked on his suggestion that people could be injected with disinfectant to combat coronavirus, calling it a "sarcastic question to reporters".

During Thursday evening's White House Covid-19 press conference, the President asked if it would be possible to use a powerful light or disinfectant "by injection inside or almost a cleaning," before clarifying he wasn't a doctor.

Mr Trump said: "So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous - whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light," the president said, turning to Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response co-ordinator, "and I think you said that hasn't been checked but you're going to test it.

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However, on Friday, the President backtracked on his statement and told reporters: "I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.

"Now, disinfectant when doing this (making a hand-washing gesture), maybe on the hands, would work and I was asking the question of the gentleman who was there yesterday - Bill - because when they say that something will last three or four hours or six hours but if the sun is out or if they use disinfectant it goes away in less than a minute - did you hear about this yesterday?

"I was asking a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside but it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands and that would make things much better. That was done in a form of a sarcastic question to the reporters."

Donald Trump asks if "injecting disinfectant" is a possible treatment for COVID-19

His initial comments were widely criticised in the hours following the press conference.

The UK's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries said at today's coronavirus press conference: “I wouldn't have a specific message to Donald Trump. I'd have a message for anyone considering injecting those substances into their bodies.

“Nobody should be injecting anything and we should be using evidence-based treatments we know will be safe.”

Similarly, Dettol's manufacturer was forced to issue a statement after the president's remarks: “Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB (the makers of Lysol and Dettol) has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

"As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines.

"Please read the label and safety information.

"We have a responsibility in providing customers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts. For this and other myth-busting facts, please visit”.

The US is now the worst affected country
The US is now the worst affected country. Picture: PA

On Friday, the latest data from John Hopkins University showed that 50,031 people have died from Covid-19 in the US - marking one quarter of all deaths in the world from the virus.

Data also shows that of the 2.7 million confirmed cases around the globe, nearly 900,000 have been in the United States.

However, when asked about the number of deaths in the country, Trump told reporters "I think we've done a great job".

"As you know minimal numbers were going to be 100,000 people and we're hopefully going to be far below that."