To the editor:
There is a lot of uproar and misinformation about President Trump’s statement regarding sunlight and disinfectants. First, I recommend that if you did not watch the briefing, then go to the White House’s website and read the transcript for yourself. Trump never mentioned the words “Clorox,” “bleach,” “Lysol” or “inject yourself.” This is similar to when he suggested sanitizing and reusing masks. The media mocked him and very soon after that a company was given permission from the FDA to sterilize 80,000 used masks a day. When he placed travel restrictions on China, opponents called him racist.
Now PolitiFact states “As for ultraviolet light, experts told Politifact, while it is sometimes used to disinfect health care environments, there is no use for it in the human body.” This is patently false. Photodynamic treatment is a combination of pharmaceuticals and UV light to treat cancers, including internally, that has been in use for years. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai have been investigating using UV light to treat lung infections, both bacterial and viral, since 2016 with enough success that they announced on April 21 that the Healight technology may be approved for trials to treat COVID-19. This would have huge implications for treating not only COVID-19 but many other respiratory infections.
There are numerous other laser, UV and infrared treatments available for various conditions, so it is possible one of these other treatments could be a stepping point for future treatments of respiratory infections.
As to his statement regarding disinfectants, who knows? The EPA currently lists 392 disinfectants that are approved for sanitizing surfaces of SARS-CoV2. Listerine was marketed as a floor cleaner before being sold as a mouth wash. Physicians inject nasty chemo meds into patients all the time in the hope that the cure is not worse than the disease. I will leave it up to the pharmaceutical researchers to answer if any disinfectant could be used as a treatment.
However, Trump never should have tried to say the statement was intended as sarcasm, he should have just owned it.
Finally, I see a lot of headlines stating that reopening the economy too soon will kill people. To counter that, I recommend you research the vast number of peer-reviewed studies that link increased illicit drug use, alcoholism and suicide rates with job loss and economic hardships. Look at the increased rates of domestic and child abuse that stay-at-home orders have caused. What about those that cannot buy food or medicines, or may even lose their homes because they cannot work to earn money to pay for these? Are they less important because their potential deaths are not directly from COVID-19? Is it just me, or does anyone else notice that those resisting removing the restrictions the loudest are those that are well to do in nice homes? I imagine there is a big difference between quarantining in a crowded shoe box apartment in a large city like NYC, and on a private estate in Wyoming.
I also recommend looking at preliminary studies in Washington, California and New York that suggest the actual prevalence of COVID-19 in the U.S. is not 907,096 cases, but anywhere from 10 to 55 times that number. That means, conservatively, the actual fatality rate is not 5.74% but probably closer to about 0.5%. The true numbers won’t be known until there is real widespread testing with reliable antibody detection tests, but all indications point that it is not the end of the world. But how we react could be.
People have died from COVID-19, and will continue to die from COVID-19 until we develop a cure and a vaccine, and that is not to be taken lightly. But neither should we allow ourselves to be fed the lies and misinformation from both sides of the aisle without question. So please, wash your hands frequently, cover your face when you cough and sneeze and try to keep perspective.