The recommendations to prevent coronavirus infection have been repeatedly voiced by the expert community: wash hands, do not touch the face, disinfect surfaces and, if possible, stay home. However, global tensions have contributed to the spread of myths about COVID-19. Among them, the myth about the preventive properties of disinfectants taken into the body is not so much useless as the real danger to health.
Growth of poisoning
From January to March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States recorded 45,550 cases of cleaning and disinfectant poisoning, a 20% increase over the previous year. The largest increase was recorded in cases of poisoning with bleaches, alcohol-free antiseptics and hand sanitizing gels.
Although there is no direct link between the use of chemicals and human attempts to shield oneself from coronavirus, there is a widespread belief that this link is likely.
Cases such as these have been reported to the state of Illinois. Chicago Tribune quoted Dr. Ngozi Ezieke, head of the State Department of Health, as saying there has been a “significant increase” in reports of poisoning of household chemicals. As an example, Ezieke described an Illinois resident who mixed bleach and mouthwash to combat coronavirus.
However, according to NPR, the largest spike in improper use of household chemicals was noted after a press conference of the Coronavirus Working Group, which was held by Donald Trump on April 23.
Household Chemistry Injections
During a press conference on April 23, William Bryan, head of research at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, mentioned that bleach and alcohol can destroy coronavirus on surfaces. President Donald Trump continued Brian’s thought, but in a very unusual way: he suggested that the virus could be defeated, including through injections or other means of administering disinfectants.
A little later, the White House press office circulated a statement indicating that the president’s words had been taken out of context and that Trump always recommended consulting with medical professionals.
DHS official William Bryan: “Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect solar light appears to have on killing the virus on both surfaces & in the air. We see a similar effect with both temperature & humidity … increasing them is unfavorable for the virus.” pic.twitter.com/t6NPYNwlsr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 23, 2020
New York City authorities reported that within 18 hours after the press conference 30 appeals related to poisoning with household chemicals were registered in the city.
The next day, journalists were asked to comment on the White House head’s statement. Trump said that his words should be taken as “a matter of sarcasm, addressed to a group of hostile people, in particular, the fairy media.
A video in which Deborah Birks, who was present at the press conference, did not hide her surprise from Trump’s statement, became popular on social networks.