Coronavirus briefing ends with shock and confusion

President Trump speaking at a briefing.

Evan Vucci, AP

President Trump speaking at a briefing.

Alexis Incandela, Reporter

On April 23rd, 2020, a press conference was held with President Donald Trump and members of the Coronavirus Task Force. The conference was expected to update the country on the latest coronavirus statistics. However, the world was taken by storm when Trump unexpectedly suggested that disinfectant injections and ultraviolet light should be looked into as a possible treatment for COVID-19.

During the conference, Trump turned to Dr. Deborah Birx, a physician, and stated, “I see the disinfectant that 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? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.” A major concern by medical experts is that desperate and uninformed people might misinterpret the President’s statement and attempt to ingest or inject themselves with disinfectant chemicals, which could cause significant harm, or death.

It didn’t take long for healthcare officials, cleaning brands, and The American Chemistry Council to comment on his statement saying, “Chlorine bleach and other disinfectants should never be ingested or injected into the body to treat infections such as COVID-19. Such a practice could be lethal or cause serious bodily harm.” It wasn’t until later, Trump said that his comment was “sarcastic,” and claims he was asking only to see what would happen and how people would react. Still, poison control centers have had an increase in calls asking about disinfectants as a way to rid COVID-19 and talked to people who have close exposure and contact with cleaning products. They even predict that there will be an increase in poisoning reports due to his comment.

As people continued to criticize his comment, Trump took no time to respond by tweeting, “not worth the time & effort,” while asking the purpose of these conferences if reporters are only going to ask “hostile” questions and report on “fake news.”

Coronavirus experts, Dr. Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci, both members of the coronavirus task force, frequently speak at the press conferences. Both offering updates on the spread of the virus and the search for effective treatments and a vaccine. They often find themselves in a difficult position, as their warnings to the public based upon science often conflict with the unproven theories put forward by Trump. Polls indicate that the public trusts Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx significantly more than Trump. As such, Democrats and the public are concerned that if Dr. Fauci and Birx contradict him too frequently, they will be removed from the team and therefore, unable to help control the pandemic when America needs them most.

The re-opening of America is a significant concern at the moment and a source of conflict between Trump and medical professionals. Since there is no vaccine for the easily transmittable virus at this time, health experts recommend reducing the number of infected by keeping Americans home and minimizing contact and gatherings between people.

As no state has experienced a decline in the number of coronavirus cases, doctors are concerned that sending American’s back to work too soon could result in a second wave of the virus. They also strongly warn against opening schools any time in the near future. Trump, however, has been adamant about opening the nation for business again, including schools, stating public schools should “seriously consider” reopeingn before the school year is over. He has even shown his support for those protesting the stay at home orders which were put in place by governors in order to control the spread of the virus and keep their people safe.