For some reason, people are still drinking bleach to try to cure COVID-19

A row of Clorox products, reminding you that drinking bleach is a bad idea
Photo via Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
  • You absolutely should not drink bleach (or a bleach solution)
  • In Texas, dozens of people drank bleach in August
  • In the past, Trump wondered about injecting oneself with disinfectant

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, QAnon supporters advised people that drinking bleach could cure COVID-19. 

QAnon is a conspiracy theory that posits that President Donald Trump is seeking to bust a pedophile ring. Supporters of this theory frequently hail Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), which is bleach, as the ultimate cure for coronavirus. Despite several warnings from public health offices to the contrary, including the idea that injecting bleach “causes massive organ damage and the blood cells in the body to basically burst,” there are still frequent reports of people following this advice.

Trump also wondered aloud in April if injecting disinfectant into your body could help ward off the virus, and during their first presidential debate on Sept. 29, Joe Biden ridiculed him for that suggestion. Trump has since said he was kidding. But even six months after Trump’s initial comments, U.K. commentators were clashing over the president’s words, and fact checks still had to be written.

Unsurprisingly, the bleach movement has since made its way to Amazon.

In April, the FDA reported that a federal judge entered an injunction against Genesis II Church of Health and Healing to prevent it from selling diluted chlorine dioxide labeled as MMS. But that hasn’t stopped people from drinking bleach six months into the pandemic. Reports of bleach ingestion are still coming in from Texas and Georgia. 

The Georgia Department of Public Health has warned people against using substances resembling this bleach solution as a cure for coronavirus, according to the Sacramento Bee. People also shouldn’t be licking hand-sanitizer.

“Chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe and effective for any use, including treatment of COVID-19,” the state office said. “They are not meant to be swallowed by people.”

In north Texas, 46 people drank bleach in the month of August. The North Texas Poison Center has received calls suggesting that misinformation regarding coronavirus has contributed to continued ingestions. 

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, via Forbes, people who had been poisoned by disinfectants had increased by 122% when compared to 2019.

“We certainly are not used to seeing bleach ingestion, at least that frequently in such a short amount of time, and we do know in general this year compared to last we’re seeing a whole lot more of bleach exposures,” Cristina Holloway, the public health manager of North Texas Poison Center within Parkland Hospital, told NBC DFW

Holloway also told the TV station that people identified the reason they were drinking bleach as being related to COVID-19. There are also reports of people using bleach to clean food as well as themselves, which resulted in adverse health effects. 

Sources: FDA, Sacramento Bee, STAT News, NBCDFW, Rolling Stone, Daily Beast

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