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Coronavirus: Trump disinfectant claims cause 100 hospital admissions

The US president suggested disinfectants could prevent Covid-19 infections during his Friday briefing, leading to dozens of hospitalizations across the country.

Coronavirus: Trump disinfectant claims cause 100 hospital admissions
Chris Kleponis / POOLEFE

US President Donald Trump's claims during his daily White House coronavirus briefing on Friday that the ingestion of disinfectant could be an effective measure to prevent contracting Covid-19 has led to the hospitalization of at least 100 people in the US, according to reports.  

“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? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that," the president said, to the astonishment of his Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr Deborah Birx

Experts moved swiftly to assure the US population that Trump's claims were completely unfounded. My concern is that people will die. People will think this is a good idea,” Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, told The Washington Post. “This is not willy-nilly, off-the-cuff, maybe-this-will-work advice. This is dangerous.” 

Health experts move swiftly to debunk Trump

Despite the many warnings issued and Trump's explanation later in the day - that he had been posing a question sarcastically to reporters - there have been a number of cases of people being admitted to hospital after ingesting household cleaning products. More than 100 people have been treated according to reports in the US, with at least 30 of those in New York State, the New York Daily News reported.

Additionally, medical services support staff have fielded hundreds of calls from people asking about the curative properties of disinfecting products. 

Reckitt Benckiser, the company that makes US brands Lysol and Dettol, issued a statement on Friday saying: "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). 

Washington State also issued an emergency declaration urging people not to heed the president's advice: "Please, do not consume detergent tablets or inject any kind of disinfectant."