Medical chief Dr Jenny Harries warns over 'injecting anything' after Trump disinfectant remark

24 April 2020, 17:59

Dr Jenny Harries said people should not be injecting themselves with anything
Dr Jenny Harries said people should not be injecting themselves with anything. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Britain’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer has added her voice to a medical backlash after Donald Trump suggested injecting disinfectant might cure coronavirus.

Deputy CMO Dr Jenny Harries spoke strongly at today’s daily press conference on coronavirus. When asked about Donald Trump’s remarks, she said: “I wouldn't have a specific message to Donald Trump. I'd have a message for anyone considering injecting those substances into their bodies.

“Nobody should be injecting anything and we should be using evidence-based treatments we know will be safe.”

The President was talking about using light as a treatment for Covid-19 yesterday when he asked if it would be possible to use disinfectant "by injection inside or almost a cleaning," before clarifying he wasn't a doctor.

Mr Trump said: "So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous - whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light," the president said, turning to Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response co-ordinator, "and I think you said that hasn't been checked but you're going to test it.

READ MORE: the latest coronavirus updates live

"And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside of the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you're going to test that too. Sounds interesting," the president continued.

“And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute,” Trump said. “One minute! And is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.”

Dettol's manufacturer was forced to issue a statement after the president's remarks: “Due to recent speculation and social media activity, RB (the makers of Lysol and Dettol) has been asked whether internal administration of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

"As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route). As with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines.

"Please read the label and safety information.

"We have a responsibility in providing customers with access to accurate, up-to-date information as advised by leading public health experts. For this and other myth-busting facts, please visit Covid-19facts.com”.

Dr Harries also said that the number of people being treated in hospitals had fallen ‘very markedly’ in London. She also hailed “many other success stories" in other areas of the UK.

But she said it was nonetheless “critical we maintain social distancing requirements.

“It's a science-led approach but that includes behavioural science. It can be difficult to get the balance right.

“It become increasingly difficult as we go through. Pretending we can jump out easily is not the right thing at all,” she told today’s coronavirus press conference.

Dr Harries said the number of new cases had risen, but that the curve was flattening, and as more tests were being carried out, they were expecting to see an increase in cases.

She also said that the capacity of critical care beds in UK hospitals was increasing.

On releasing the lockdown, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “ The country has done incredibly well in adhering to social distancing and there's a danger as we go into a sunny weekend that people think the peak is over.

“It isn't over. We're on - we hope - a downward trend but it's by no means established. The more we adhere to it, the faster the decision will be made.”

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

Dr Harries said: “It is critical we maintain social distancing requirements.

“It's a science-led approach but that includes behavioural science. It can be difficult to get the balance right.

“It become increasingly difficult as we go through. Pretending we can jump out easily is not the right thing at all.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said there were "tentative signs" that progress is being made in the battle against coronavirus as he announced a support package to ensure supply routes bringing critical goods into the UK remain open.

He told the Downing Street press conference: "The continued operation of both passenger and freight transport is critically important to our resilience as a country.

"So today I am announcing a new package of measures to ensure transport boosts our national response to Covid-19."

Mr Shapps paid tribute to the work of transport workers who have gone "above and beyond to keep vital freight and passenger services running".

He added: "The actions I have announced today will ensure that transport can continue to serve the nation during this crisis, keep us supplied with everything we need to stay at home, yet also ensure that infrastructure required to emerge from this pandemic stands ready to serve us all when that time does arise."

Happening Now