Quick PSA: Don’t Drink Bleach, Y’all

dont drink bleach, disinfectants
Bleach is for cleaning, not for your body. Original Image by JeepersMedia via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

So, if you have been paying at list indirect attention to Donald Trump’s coronavirus press briefings, you may have heard about his suggestion of “injecting” sunlight and even disinfectants (like bleach and Lysol) directly into people’s bodies in order to get rid of the coronavirus.

What Exactly Did Trump Say Now?

It seems that Trump got this bright idea after Bill Bryan, the head of the science and technology directorate at the Department of Homeland Security gave a short a presentation in which he discussed how common disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces.

However, Trump didn’t quite understand that these suggestions were about getting rid of the virus on surfaces.

Why Trump Is Wrong

We should already know that there is no way to “inject sunlight” into our bodies, although we can benefit from being out in the sun for a limited time. Our bodies can absorb Vitamin D from sun rays but heavy exposure to ultraviolet light is harmful to the skin.

We should also know that cleaning agents are not fit for bodily consumption. The chemicals in disinfectants can damage our organs and blood cells. These chemicals are also harmful to our skin and if they get on our skin, we should wash those areas as soon as possible. Additionally, the instructions on many of these disinfectants’ containers suggest that users dilute the chemicals before using them.

Are People This Suggestible, Though?

Soon after I heard what Trump said in that press briefing, I quickly thought, “No one can be so dumb as to listen to this guy, right?” Even though many medical professionals, various news outlets, and even the maker of Lysol felt the need to issue warnings about ingesting household cleaners, I wondered if such warnings were necessary.

Apparently, some people are dumb enough to ingest these chemicals. If we remember, there was once a Tide pod challenge phase among some young people. Also, there have been reports that calls to Poison Control Centers — most notably in New York — have increased (compared to the same period a year ago) shortly after Trump’s statements. Time will tell how many of those calls came from people who followed the president’s “advice,” but I suspect that at least a few did.

Trump eventually realized how dumb his statements were, and to save face, he said that his statements were “sarcastic.”

He sounded completely serious to me.

This Is No Laughing Matter

I will admit if you remove the overall context, what Trump said would be hilarious if written as a skit. In fact, The Onion published an entry that dealt with just this topic in March. Yet the truth is we are facing the COVID-19 epidemic and dealing with its medical, (inter)personal, and economic effects. If you got any amusement from Trump’s absurdity — which, I admit, I did — after some thought, the reality of the situation should wipe the smile off your face.

We really need better leaders and not just a new president, but leaders that actually value human life.


Have any thoughts on the subject? Time’s yours.

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