In the US over 100 calls have been made to Maryland's state's emergency hotline, while New York's poison control centre noticed a spike in numbers of residents calling about ingesting bleach in the wake of President Donald Trump touting disinfectant as a possible Coronavirus treatment.
Meanwhile, the UK based leading disinfectant firm Reckitt Benckiser has issued a warning for alerting people about the usage of its products on the human body after US President Donald Trump suggested injecting bleach to treat patients with Coronavirus. The company said "under no circumstance" should its products be injected or ingested.
The suggestion from US President to use disinfectant
While the comments from Trump were heavily criticised by doctors and health experts, it generated a massive online response against the suggestion from a world leader. Many of the experts have clarified that disinfectants are hazardous substances and can be poisonous for people if ingested.
The owner of brands like Lysol, Dettol, Vanish and Cillit Bang- Reckitt Benckiser said its products should not be taken via injection or any other route. In a statement, the company clearly mentioned that "Our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information."
During Thursday's White House briefing Trump said that an official presented the results of US government research which indicated Coronavirus appeared to weaken faster when exposed to sunlight and heat. The study also allegedly claims that the bleach could kill the deadly virus in saliva or in respiratory fluids within five minutes. In addition, he mentioned that isopropyl alcohol could kill it even more quickly. He said:
"And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute," he said adding that "And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?" But later, on Friday afternoon, April 24 Trump stated that "I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen."
Effects of Trump's comments on Americans
The comments may have been delivered "sarcastically" but it has affected the Americans in a massive way as it led to the state of Maryland sending out an emergency alert after people kept calling them, questioning the advice on consuming disinfectant as a possible 'cure' for the COVID-19, which has already killed over 51,000 people in the US. Many people also asked whether they can use household detergent.
Soon, Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) tweeted that: "This is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route."
In New York, the most hard-hit state in the US, health authorities reported that they have received an unusually high number of people contacting them after Trump's comment. The New York Poison Control Center, the sub-agency of the city's Health Department took 30 calls between Thursday at 9 pm and Friday at 3 pm. Later, New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot tweeted that "To be clear, disinfectants are not intended for ingestion either by mouth, by ears, by breathing them in any way, shape or form."
However, it should be noted that as per Daily News, there are no reports related to deaths or hospitalization of the people who contacted concerned authorities. It was also revealed that while nine of the calls were specifically about possible exposure to Lysol and ten were regarding bleach, around 11 calls were about household cleaners in general, said a spokesman.