Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump said Friday that he answered "sarcastically" during a White House task force briefing when he said that disinfectants may be used to treat coronavirus.

The state of play: During a signing for the interim coronavirus funding bill, the president told reporters that he "was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen" with the response, per a pool report.

What he said on Thursday: "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? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with.  But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me."

  • Just before his comments on disinfectants, the president also suggested that "ultraviolet or just very powerful light" could be used "inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way" in order to treat the illness.

The big picture: Trump's comments prompted Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of disinfectants Lysol and Dettol, to issue a statement noting that "under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route)."

  • Doctors also took to social media to quickly warn people against ingesting or using disinfectants as a treatment, the Washington Post reports.
  • Craig Spencer, the director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, told the Post: "My concern is that people will die. People will think this is a good idea."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,092,855 — Total deaths: 736,254 Total recoveries — 12,350,879Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,094,565 — Total deaths: 163,465 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."

Trump says Fauci is "wrong" about coronavirus cases surge

President Trump and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci during an April daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump called out Anthony Fauci Saturday in a comment retweeting a video of the NIAID director explaining why coronavirus cases have been surging in the U.S.

Driving the news: In the video of Friday's testimony, Fauci explained that while European countries shut 95% of their economies, the U.S. "functionally shut down only about 50%." Trump responded, "Wrong! We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000.

Updated 11 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 20 million worldwide on Monday evening, Johns Hopkins data shows.

The big picture: World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference as the world approached the milestone that 750,000 deaths were set to be recorded this week. "Every life lost matters," he said. "But I want to be clear: there are green shoots of hope and... it's never too late to turn the outbreak around."