By: Matthew Twillman, Columnist
President Trump’s recent comments suggesting that Americans should consider injecting bleach or exposing themselves to ultraviolet light as a treatment to coronavirus comes in the latest string of destructive and dangerous rhetoric that has been the cornerstone of America’s botched response to the pandemic.
As of this week, over 50,000 Americans have perished from COVID-19 related reasons. Compare this to a nation like India, with roughly 20,000 cases despite its considerably higher population and population density. Despite the dreary state of American affairs, Trump has been agitating in support of recent conservative protesting to prematurely end the stay-at-home orders.
“LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!” Trump tweeted on April 17, directly invoking the right to bear arms against pandemic-related stay-at-home orders.
These words have resonated with far-right extremists, who have likened the protests to a “boogaloo,” or the coming of a second civil war. Most Americans, however, seem to be more concerned with the country reopening its economy too quickly.
We should not regard these protests just as emanating the memeable irony of a privileged white woman protesting outside a Baskin Robbins holding a “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” sign. The fact of the matter is that Trump’s agitations against these stay-at-home orders are in good company with far-right gun groups, who helped organize some of the protests nationwide via Facebook.
Trump has defended these protestors with such words as sympathetically referring to their “cabin fever” at an April 19 press briefing. This statement is particularly blind to the plight of people with the virus, and the day-to-day traumatic reality of being a medical worker in these times.
Let’s return to the matter of bleach and ultraviolet light. Trump’s suggestions are similar to a litany of alternative medicine treatments supported by Facebook ads and conspiracy theorists. Mike Grenon, whose “Genesis II” church sells chlorine dioxide bleach (or as he calls it, a “miracle mineral solution”), wrote to the president to peddle his miracle medicine, which erroneously claims to cure HIV/AIDS, cancer and autism.
Trump’s suggestions on injecting bleach share similarities to Grenon’s unfounded claims. Just like Trump’s failed proposal of taking hydroxychloroquine, which was revealed to have no medical benefit and in fact increased mortality for COVID-19 sufferers, these unfounded treatment proposals are an active and present danger to impressionable American citizens who heed the word of the president.
The word of the president has a tremendous impact on real-world consequences. Lysol took to Twitter to strenuously urge people not to ingest their disinfectant products.
“Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body,” Lysol tweeted on April 24 in response to “recent speculation and social media activity.”
Let this be known: do not listen to Trump’s treatment suggestions for COVID-19. Trump is at the epicenter of America’s botched response to coronavirus. New York City’s Poison Control Center saw a spike in calls surrounding the consumption of disinfectant products.
Do not poison yourself on Trump’s word. Listen to CDC and FDA sources for proper information regarding coronavirus care and COVID-19 treatment. It is perhaps a most tragic calamity that, in this day and age, we cannot trust the word of our own president to lead us away from preventable death.
Please, do not drink bleach.