Donald Trump is subverting fight against COVID-19

Donald Trump is subverting fight against COVID-19

US President Donald Trump. (AFP Photo)

US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that people should inject themselves with household disinfectants to cure Covid-19 could have been dismissed as one of his usual illogical rants, but for its potentially dangerous implications. Unlike antibiotics and anti-septics, which kill microorganisms within the body and on living tissue respectively, disinfectants are toxic chemicals that are used to clean floors and toilet bowls. They are not for human consumption. Understandably, his advice has triggered a near-universal outcry. The medical fraternity and even disinfectant manufacturers have warned that injesting disinfectants could cause grave harm, even kill. Still, there is a real possibility that some people could be misled into acting on Trump’s terrible suggestion. As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps the world, anxiety levels have surged and many people are vulnerable and willing to try anything to stay alive.  

This isn’t the first time that Trump is imperilling people’s lives with his quackery. He has been advocating the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients although there is no evidence that it works. He has also suggested that patients be exposed to “ultraviolet or just very powerful light”. Again, UV light works for disinfecting masks and medical equipment but should not be used on humans as it could cause skin cancer. Trump should leave decisions and advocacy on medical issues to experts.

At a time when the world is grappling with a deadly pandemic, countless quacks are peddling ‘cures’ for the disease and jeopardising the lives of millions of people. That Trump is using the presidential pulpit to promote quackery is irresponsible and dangerous. As if this isn’t destructive enough, Trump is subverting lockdowns in the states. While it is true that lockdowns have impoverished many, those at the forefront of the anti-lockdown protests are largely conservatives and privileged Whites and Trump is egging them on with his tweets to “liberate” themselves. Lockdowns were imposed to enforce social distancing to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Pushing for their lifting without careful consideration of the health situation on the ground could prove disastrous. The US President should have been at the forefront, fighting the Covid-19 pandemic amongst his own people and leading a coordinated global response. Instead, not only has Trump failed to lead his own country, he is even subverting the fight against the pandemic.