Dr. Deborah Birx defends Trump over injecting disinfectant saga, slamming media for ‘slicey and dicey’ headlines – The SunApril 26, 2020
THE DOCTOR who answered President Trump's infamous disinfectant question Thursday says she's bothered by continuing media coverage of the interaction and blasts the backlash as built on typically "slicey and dicey" headlines.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, told CNN on Sunday: “It bothers me that this is still in the news cycle.”
“I worry that we don’t get the information to the American people that they need when we continue to bring up something that was from Thursday night.”
Birx added: “Because I think we’re missing the bigger pieces of what we need to be doing as an American people to continue to protect one another.”
During a coronavirus press briefing on Thursday, Trump wondered aloud whether disinfectants could be injected or ingested to fight off the coronavirus.
"Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it's ultraviolet or just very powerful light?" he asked a Homeland Security official.
"And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body which you can do either through the skin or in some other way."
"And I think you said you're going to test that too? Sounds interesting."
Trump continued: "And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and – is there a way we can do something like that?
"By injection inside or almost a cleaning. As you can see, it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs."
He later asked Birx to look into the suggestion in an awkward exchange.
"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 a cure," he said. "I'm not a doctor. I am a person that has a good [head].
"Deborah, have you ever heard of that?"
Birx replied: "Not as a treatment."
Footage from another point in the briefing showed Birx looking toward the Homeland Security official and then awkwardly at the ground as the president spoke.
The backlash was swift from medical professionals and the news media — and even prompted the FDA, doctors and local officials not to warn not to ingest such chemicals.
Reckitt Benckiser, the parent of the company that makes Lysol and Dettol, said in a statement: “We must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”
The Clorox Company said: “Bleach and other disinfectants are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances.
The White House said Trump’s comments had been misrepresented by the media, and Trump later said he had been speaking sarcastically.
Birx said Trump had been having a “dialogue” with a Homeland Security scientist about information he had recently been told about how light, heat and disinfectants affect the virus.
“I think what got lost in there, which is very unfortunate in what happened next, is that study was critically important for the American people.”
In a separate interview with Fox News on Saturday, Birx claimed the media “is very slicey and dicey about how they put sentences together in order to create headlines.”
“We know for millennials in other studies that some people may only read the headlines,” she said. “And if there’s not a graphic, they’re not going to look any further than that.”
Birx added: “I think we have to be responsible about our headlines. I think often, the reporting maybe accurate in paragraph three, four, and five.”
“But I’m not sure how many people actually get to paragraph three, four, and five.”
“And I think the responsibility that the press has is to really ensure that the headlines reflect the science and data that is in their piece itself.”
Birx is the response coordinator of the federal government's coronavirus task force — and stepped away from her job as the U.S. global AIDS coordinator to do so.
She is a U.S. Army physician and recognized AIDS researcher who rose to the rank of colonel and head of the global AIDS program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Birx is also a rare Obama administration holdover as the State Department’s ambassador-at-large leading a U.S. taxpayer-funded worldwide campaign to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Birx previously said of Trump: “He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data.”
“I think his ability to analyze and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit during these discussions about medical issues because in the end, data is data.”
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