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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 23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate — Neil Young demands Spotify take down music over vaccine misinformation — Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

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 Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."