By ALLISON RAPP
At a daily press briefing on Thursday, President Trump suggested falsely that sunlight or the ingestion of disinfectants may serve as a possible cure to COVID-19.
“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. “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.”
“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” he continued. “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.”
The suggestion that light might be sent inside the body was roundly criticized by many experts as not only unscientific but also dangerous. Ultraviolet light not only kills microbes but also can kill people and many disinfectants are highly toxic. The notion that summer heat would kill the virus also is cast into question, considering, for example, that Ecuador, whose very name indicates its geographic position straddling the Equator, and whose climate is always hot and muggy, now sits at the epicenter of coronavirus outbreaks.
The suggestion came after a presentation from Bill Bryan, the acting undersecretary of science and technology for the Department of Homeland Security, who discussed some of the research being conducted by his staff, which included experiments on how increased temperature and heat affect the coronavirus.
“The virus is dying at a much more rapid pace just from exposure from a higher temperature and just from exposure from a higher humidity,” he said, but noted that these results were not conclusive and that American should continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines until further testing could be done.
Previously, President Trump had indicated that, as with many other known viruses, warm summer weather might cause the coronavirus to “go away,” something Bryan warned might not be the case.
“This doesn’t take away from the guidelines of the White House,” he said, “This is another tool in our tool belt, another weapon in our fight. It would be irresponsible for us to say that the summer’s just going to totally kill the virus.”
While the summer heat may not prove to be a miracle cure, Vice President Mike Pence also took to the podium on Thursday to note some promising data. He stated that, thanks to large-scale mitigation efforts, former hotspots like New York City, New Jersey, New Orleans, and Connecticut have shown signs that they have passed their peak of new cases.
“Our only conclusion is that we are getting there, America,” he said. Pence also encouraged states who have met required criteria to move forward with Phase One of their reopening process.
“We are encouraged in seeing so many states embrace the phased approach,” he said. “Every single day we are one day closer to opening up America again”