Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that his state received “hundreds” of calls after President Trump suggested at a press briefing that ingesting household disinfectants could be a treatment for the coronavirus.
As experts and public health agencies quickly warned after Trump’s briefing, ingesting disinfectants can cause organ damage and be fatal.
“I think when misinformation comes out, or you just say something that pops into your head, it does send a wrong message,” Hogan said on ABC News.
The Republican governor continued: “We had hundreds of calls come in to our emergency hotline at our health department asking if it was — if it was right to ingest Clorox or, you know, alcohol cleaning products, whether that was going to help them fight the virus. So, we had to put out that warning to make sure that people were not doing something like that which would kill people.” Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Hogan how he would explain Trump’s comments.
“I can’t really explain that, George,” he replied. “I think the president has got to focus on the message, stick to the message and make sure these press conferences are fact-based. I think other people in the administration are trying to make that clear to him as well.”
In another interview, on CBS News, Hogan said it was “critical” for a president to “get the facts out there” during a global crisis. “Unfortunately, some of the messaging has not been great,” he added.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, similarly said her state had also received calls to poison control after the briefing.
“When the person with the most powerful position on the planet is encouraging people to think about disinfectants — whether it was serious or not, people listen,” she said on ABC News. “And so, we have seen an increase in numbers of people calling poison control, and so I think it’s really important that every one of us with a platform disseminate medically accurate information,” Whitmer added.
At Thursday’s White House briefing, Trump proposed a number of off-the-cuff potential treatments for the virus, including bringing “the light inside the body, either through the skin or some other way.”
“And then I see the disinfectant where it 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 in the lungs and does a tremendous number on the lungs,” Trump said. “It would be interesting to check that. That you’re gonna have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me, so we’ll see.”
Trump asked Dr. Deborah Birx, a leader on the White House coronavirus task force, for her opinion on the possible use of ultraviolet light against the coronavirus.
“Not as a treatment,” she replied.
Trump said Friday he was being sarcastic with his comments, undermining the White House’s previous claim that he was taken out of context.
In an unusual turn of events since the coronavirus briefings began, Trump did not take questions during Friday’s briefing and did not hold one on Saturday.
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