AP Photo/Alex Brandon
President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that scientists and other experts investigate whether there’s a way to inject disinfectant, light, or heat into the human body to kill the coronavirus.
“Suppose that we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” Trump said at the White House coronavirus press briefing, adding: “Supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way.”
At the briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, the federal government’s coronavirus response coordinator, said she’d never heard of light or heat being used as a treatment for an illness like COVID-19.
Trump added that he wasn’t a doctor and was “just here to present ideas” after a reporter suggested he was spreading “rumors” that might be dangerous.
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President Donald Trump suggested during his Thursday-night press briefing that scientists investigate whether there’s a way to inject light, heat, or disinfectant into the human body to kill the novel coronavirus, despite lacking any evidence to support his theory.
“Suppose that we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” Trump said, adding: “Supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way.”
The president said that he asked William Bryan, a science and technology adviser at the Department of Homeland Security, to explore those possibilities and that Bryan said he would follow up. Bryan presented “emerging” results from recent federal government studies showing that sunlight, heat, and humidity could help kill the coronavirus on external surfaces.
Trump celebrated the data, which he claimed confirmed a “nice rumor” that the virus might fade during the summer months. Earlier this month a report sent to the White House and covered by The New York Times suggested that there’s not enough evidence to say the disease would dissipate in summer.
“Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning?” Trump asked his experts at the briefing, adding: “It sounds interesting to me, so we’ll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute. That’s pretty powerful.”
He brought up his unsubstantiated idea again, noting, “Maybe, it works. Maybe, it doesn’t.”
“I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way you can apply light and heat to cure. You know? If you could,” Trump told Bryan and Dr. Deborah Birx, the federal government’s coronavirus response coordinator. “And maybe you can, maybe you can’t. Again, I say maybe you can, maybe you can’t. I’m not a doctor.”
The president then asked Birx whether she’d heard of heat or light being used as a cure for a virus.
“Not as a treatment,” she responded.
“I think it’s a great thing to look at,” he concluded.
When The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker suggested that the president was spreading “rumors” that might be dangerous, Trump called the reporter “a total faker.” Rucker also pointed out that the virus had already spread in hot and humid places like Florida and Singapore.
“I’m just here to present talent, I’m here to present ideas,” Trump said, adding: “And if heat is good, if sunlight is good, that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned.”
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