Two days after US president Donald Trump suggested the possibility of injecting disinfectant to fight the Covid-19 virus, Maryland's outbreak hotline has received more than 100 calls regarding bleach as a cure, while poisonings from household cleaners have doubled in New York.
During a press conference on Thursday (US time) Trump suggested: "And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute… is there a way we can do something, by an injection inside or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it'd be interesting to check that… it sounds interesting to me."
Medical professionals immediately condemned Trump's remarks.
In the wake of the increased queries to the hotline, Maryland officials sent out an emergency alert after the calls kept coming with many people questioning the advice on consuming disinfectant as a possible treatment to Covid-19.
Many of the states residents who dialled the Maryland Emergency Management Agency were asking about using household detergents.
"This is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion or any other route," the agency tweeted.
Similar concerns were felt in New York City where health authorities reported that they have received an "unusually high" number of people contacting them in the wake of Trump's inaccurate claims, the Daily Mail reported.
The New York Poison Control Centre took 30 calls between Thursday at 9pm and Friday at 3pm.
"To be clear, disinfectants are not intended for ingestion either by mouth, by ears, by breathing them in any way, shape or form," New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot tweeted on Friday. "Doing so can put people at great risk."
None of the people who contacted Poison Control died or needed to go to hospital according to the Daily News.
Nine of the calls were specifically about a possible exposure to Lysol and ten were in regards to bleach.
Another 11 calls were about household cleaners in general a spokesman told then news.
Compared to the number of calls received last year during the same period, just 13 were received with no questions about Lysol and only two regarding bleach.
On Friday, Trump said he was being "sarcastic" when he asked government officials to study the idea injecting disinfectants as a possible cure for coronavirus.
He said he wasn't being serious when he asked his coronavirus task force coordinator and another official to study the proposal. He claimed he was simply jousting with reporters – only to later say government scientists were already working on the idea.
"I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen," Trump said.
But minutes later, Trump confirmed the idea was serious and he had asked government experts to study it.
Today an embattled Trump took to Twitter to criticise "fake news" and to cancel the White House press briefings.
"What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately," he asked in the Saturday tweet. "They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort!"