Misinformation is a poison, it infects us socially, economically and most importantly, it infects our personal well-being. This poison has been most prominent during the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectant to combat COVID-19 on April 23, giving a masterclass in creating misinformation. The misinformation that our president spreads needs to stop being televised as indisputable facts and needs to be fact-checked in real time.
“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?” Trump said. “As you see it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”
Needless to say, this suggestion is lethal. Medical professional Dr. Vin Gupta told NBC that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is incredibly dangerous. In fact, Gupta said that this is actually a method used by people who commit suicide. Trump did not only receive criticism from medical professionals, a spokesperson for Lysol also told NBC that “under no circumstances” should disinfectant products be put in the body — people should follow the product’s usage and safety guidelines (which are found in every container).
In response to the criticism, Trump attempted to brush off the criticism by saying he was being sarcastic. Sarcastic or not, his statement led to severe consequences. Unsurprisingly, people took the president’s proposition seriously. Not long after, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stated that there was “an increase in numbers of people calling poison control.” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan reported a similar situation, and Kansas poison control officials noticed a 40% increase in chemical intake.
This is not the first time Trump’s faulty coronavirus point of view has negatively affected the American people. Last month, for example, Trump encouraged the public to use chloroquine phosphate to treat themselves for COVID-19 without any concrete evidence of the drug’s effectiveness. As a result of Trump’s recommendation, an older Arizona couple ingested this drug and consequently found themselves in the hospital. The wife made a successful recovery, but her husband, unfortunately, passed away.
The couple took chloroquine phosphate because they heard the president advocate for it. They already had the drug on hand to treat their pet fish and believed it would protect them from contracting COVID-19. Due to misinformation, this poor woman lost her husband. No one should be accepting medical advice from unreliable sources. The 45th President of the United States is not a medical doctor and consistently hands out poisonous information (literally) without compunction.
To prevent further illnesses and deaths all news stations must stop airing Trump’s unauthorized medical recommendation during the coronavirus briefings. Some networks have pulled away under certain circumstances, but still provide the full briefings online. They should only televise medical experts on the stage, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
To keep our loved ones, friends and ourselves safe and healthy, we need to rely on scientific evidence and medical experts. It is best to disregard Trump, celebrities, social media influencers and any other sources without a verifiable medical background. Stay properly informed by listening to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other medical professionals.
False information can only negatively impact us all. To evade the virus and poor medical advice, steer clear of the president’s medical recommendations and look to the experts — the CDC, the WHO and the doctors. If we all follow qualified medical professionals, our chances of coming out of this pandemic healthy and strong increase immensely.
Thomas Solano is an Opinion Intern for the 2020 spring quarter. He can be reached at email@example.com.