I’m Sorry, What?
Trump made some odd suggestions on today's Aló Presidente.
Bloomberg reports: Trump Sees Coronavirus Hope in Summer, Sunlight and Bleach
“The virus is dying at a much more rapid pace” from exposure to humidity or heat, Bill Bryan, an undersecretary at the Homeland Security Department, said at a White House news conference on Thursday.
Bryan suggested the new U.S. research offered practical tips for many Americans, including “increasing the temperature and humidity for potentially contaminated indoor spaces” in order to kill the virus on surfaces. At a temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 80% humidity in the summer sun, for example, the research showed the virus would last just two minutes on a porous surface. Dry environments Bryan said, may require “extra care.”
‘Very Powerful Light’
Trump appeared intrigued by the research after Bryan’s presentation.
“Suppose we hit the body with a tremendous ultraviolet or just very powerful light,” Trump said, following Bryan’s presentation. “I think that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it.”
Researchers could also bring “the light inside the body” Trump said, “either through the skin or in some other way.”
Bryan also said that research had shown bleach could kill the virus in saliva or respiratory fluids in five minutes and isopropyl alcohol could kill it even more quickly. Trump suggested there would be more testing there, too.
“The disinfectant knocks it out in a minute. One minute,” he said. “Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside?” He said it would be “almost a cleaning. It gets in the lungs and does a tremendous number on the lungs.”
In case you can’t believe what you just read:
I am not sure which is crazier, the notion that cleaner could be used or light could be put inside the body (although, really, does one have to rank in this case?).
Unlike the President of the United States, the Bloomberg report cautions:
Disinfecting surfaces is an important practice in infection control. The coronavirus is fragile outside the body, and is essentially a packet of genetic information wrapped in a packet of lipids. Hand washing with soap is particularly effective in cleaning it and stopping transmission.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned Americans to be careful with cleaning products in their rush to use cleaners and disinfectants, which have been snapped up from store shelves and are still hard to find at many retailers. Poisonings related to cleaners and disinfectants rose significantly in March, according to the CDC. In one case, a woman was sent to the hospital after filling her sink with bleach solution, vinegar and hot water to soak her vegetables.
He tries to bring Birx into the mix and then note his response when confronted about the whole heat and light thing:
You know, he’s just asking. Lighten up!
All of this is, of course, quite bizarre and I am leaning heavily on the absurdity angle (as this is very much a laugh lest you cry situation). But, good grief, we in the middle of a global pandemic with no clear end in sight and with over 44,000 Americans dead, and the president is spitballing light therapy and the potential use of cleaners in the human body to fight Covid-19. And worse, many, many of my fellow Americans think he is doing a good job.
BTW, if we think that heat and humidity will be our salvation, the following story popped up while I was writing this (via the NYT): Ecuador’s Death Toll During Outbreak Is Among the Worst in the World.
With bodies abandoned on sidewalks, slumped in wheelchairs, packed into cardboard coffins and stacked by the hundreds in morgues, it is clear that Ecuador has been devastated by the coronavirus.
But the epidemic is even worse than many people in the country realize.
The death toll in Ecuador during the outbreak was 15 times higher than the official number of Covid-19 deaths reported by the government, according to an analysis of mortality data by The New York Times.
The numbers suggest that the South American country is suffering one of the worst outbreaks in the world.
There has been a surge of infections in the province that includes Ecuador’s business capital, Guayaquil, where residents are thought to have brought the virus home after visiting Spain.
In Guayaquil, fatalities during the first two weeks of April were eight times higher than usual, the data indicates — a far greater rise than that of New York City, where fatalities were four times higher in recent weeks.
Guayaquil has a decidedly tropical climate
PS. Yes, the use of light to kill an infestation was a plot point in the Star Trek TOS episode, “Operation: Annihilate”: