They had someone from DHS at the briefing today to recommend “best practices” against the virus. Use disinfectant to kill it; move activities outdoors (excellent advice!); and hope that increased heat, humidity, and UV light during the summer will help suppress the spread, which may or may not happen.
The president liked the idea of using non-medical interventions like light and disinfectant against the virus, which led to the exchange below.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but someone probably does, so here it is: Do not inject yourself with disinfectant to fight the virus. Stick with hydroxychloroquine.
“The disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. It gets in the lungs” — Trump seems to suggests that injecting disinfectant inside people could be a treatment for the coronavirus pic.twitter.com/amis9Rphsm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 23, 2020
The really funny part was when he circled back to it later and put Birx on the spot. What do you think, doctor? Think we can scrap the vaccine and hit this virus with a little internal heat and light instead?
Get a load of Dr. Birx’s demeanor after Trump tells her, “I would like you to speak to the medical doctors to see if there’s any way that you can apply light and heat to cure [coronavirus].” pic.twitter.com/TP0QoSzkYl
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 23, 2020
In case someone at CNN makes fun of him for this later, bear in mind that in the Cuomo household they bathe in bleach solutions to try to ward off the virus.
Also, in the president’s defense, this isn’t the goofiest idea of combating the virus to come out of his circle today. Here’s Stephen Moore, whom he once nominated to the Federal Reserve board, speaking to the Times today:
We can use really good public safety measures, social distancing the work force, disinfectants everywhere, masks. I was thinking this morning, and this is just kind of a thought experiment because I was thinking about this — why don’t we just put everybody in a space outfit or something like that? No. Seriously, I mean —
[Question:] Well, we’d have to make the space outfits, right?
I know we don’t have space outfits [laughter]— I mean, just thinking out loud, and maybe this is a crazy idea, but instead of just locking down the economy, putting everybody in a kind of — you’re right. You have to make 200 million of these, but it wouldn’t have cost $3 trillion to do that. And you can have for months people just walking around in these kind of — I mean, I was looking online, and there are all these kinds of suits that they’re building now that you’re not exposed and you’re breath — kind of ventilator.
It was like two weeks ago that the CDC finally caved and recommended face masks. Now we’re going to upgrade to everyone in the country wearing PPE at the office? What?
Hey, everyone’s under a lot of strain and grasping for ways to return to normalcy. Some of us cling to fantasies about remdesivir. Others imagine 300 million people in “space outfits.”
There was some actual news at today’s briefing. Anthony Fauci told Time in an interview earlier what everyone except one person already understands, that the U.S. isn’t where it needs to be on testing in order to make it safe to reopen parts of the country.
“We need to significantly ramp up not only the number of tests, but the capacity to perform them, so that you don’t have a situation where you have a test but it can’t be done because there isn’t a swab, or because there isn’t extraction media, or not the right vial,” says Fauci. “I am not overly confident right now at all that we have what it takes to do that. We are doing better, and I think we are going to get there, but we are not there yet.”
Unfortunately for him, the one person who disagrees is his boss:
Question: Do you agree with Dr. Fauci on testing that we’re just not there yet?
Trump: No I don’t agree with him on that. No I think we’re doing a great job on testing. If he said that, I don’t agree with that pic.twitter.com/h4imBkpCWU
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) April 23, 2020
I hope DHS is right about heat bringing relief from the disease’s spread. Nate Silver’s map of when different U.S. states have seen their estimated percentage of positive COVID-19 tests peak is interesting in that it does show many warmer southern states peaking a few weeks ago, including hard-hit Louisiana, while states further north are still in the thick of it. But it’s not a hard and fast rule: Arizona met or tied a new high just this past week. And as noted elsewhere today, Singapore is seeing a second wave despite the fact that the temperature is reliably in the high 80s right now with high humidity. The weather may slow down COVID but it’s obviously not stopping it.