During the White House press briefing on April 23, President Donald Trump brought up the topic of warmer weather helping stop the pandemic spread of coronavirus. It’s a subject the President has brought up numerous times, but on Thursday, he stood before the briefing room and asked Dr. Deborah Birx to look into injecting sunlight into people to kill coronavirus.
Trump compared sunlight to a “disinfectant” after the Department of Homeland Security’s Bill Bryan discussed how warmer weather can affect COVID-19 left on surfaces such as playgrounds.
“I wonder if there’s a way to do something where it knocks it out in one minute,” Trump said. “Is there was we can do something like that? By injection inside or almost a cleaning. As you know it gets inside the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that.”
Commenting on Bryan’s preliminary findings that the coronavirus doesn’t survive as well in sunlight as it does indoors, Trump said, “I think a lot of people are gonna go outside all of a sudden.”
Trump asked Bryan if raising our hands in the sunlight could kill the virus and then followed up with a series of questions about the power of sunlight and disinfectants, wondering if the latter could also be injected inside people’s bodies to kill COVID-19.
“Supposing we hit the body with ultraviolet or very powerful light. Or inject, suppose you brought the light inside the body or some other way, and I think you’re going to test that too, and disinfectant by injection inside,” he said.
Twitter Had a Strong Reaction To Trump’s Suggested Cure for Coronavirus
The reactions to Trump’s questions following the scientists’ statements were shared on Twitter, pointing out all the obvious pitfalls of injecting sunlight and/or disinfectant into someone’s lungs. Some users online tweeted joking suggestions on using a combination of the two methods.
Other Twitter members couldn’t help but think of the awful trend in which people were eating Tide Pods as a challenge.
Birx disagreed on sunlight being considered a natural killer of coronavirus. “Not as a treatment,” she said.
Can Coronavirus Be Killed By Sunlight? Or Strongly Affected By Warm Weather?
While warmer weather could help decrease the amount of coronavirus left on surfaces, Dr. Steven Hauser MD, MPH told ABC News 13 that all the research being done on sunlight, heat, humidity and their effects on coronavirus is only in its early stages.
“We don’t have the data yet,” Hauser said. “We are optimistic that warm weather might impede the virus transmission (like with other respiratory viruses), but we don’t have the data. Evidence from the southern hemisphere, however, suggests that a transition to warmer weather won’t be helpful.”
Dr. William Hathaway from Mission Health agreed that it’s too early to make a definitive statement. “We don’t really know yet. Influenza is clearly affected by heat, hence lower transmission in warmer weather. This is in part due to our behaviors changing during the warmer weather – more natural social distancing. We are hopeful that the same will be true with SARS-CoV-2, but at this point, it is not clear.”