2 Georgia men drank cleaning products to fight coronavirus, poison officials say

ATLANTA — Two Georgia men have been hospitalized after drinking cleaning products to prevent a coronavirus infection.

Georgia Poison Control Director Gaylord Lopez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the men in Atlanta had mental health issues and are expected to recover after drinking the products over the weekend.

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Lopez says one man drank bleach and the other ingested a mixture of household cleaners, beer, medication and mouthwash.

Lopez says both men have been discharged after psychiatric observation.

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Lopez said his staffers gave life-saving advice and didn’t ask if the men were encouraged by President Donald Trump’s musings about injecting disinfectants to fight the virus.

The White House said the president’s comments had been misrepresented by the media, and Trump said he had been speaking sarcastically.

“I was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen,” Trump said.

But the words prompted blunt warnings from the makers of popular commercial products.

"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),” said a statement from the parent of the company that makes Lysol and Dettol, Reckitt Benckiser.

“Bleach and other disinfectants are not suitable for consumption or injection under any circumstances" declared the Clorox Co.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s office tweeted a reminder to all Americans: “PLEASE always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/ medication to yourself or a loved one."

Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, defended Trump as merely thinking aloud about what he was hearing at the briefing.

“He was riffing,” said Jason Miller, who served as communications director to Trump’s 2016 campaign. “He wasn’t, saying, ‘Go and pump Lysol into your veins.’ But when you riff from the podium, it allows other people to define what your intent was.”

Information from the AP was used in this report.