People in Maryland Flooded an Emergency Hotline to Ask If They Should Take Trump’s Advice on Disinfectants

Michael Reynolds/CNP/Zuma

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President Trump’s absurd suggestion that injections of disinfectants could help cure the coronavirus wasn’t, as he later suggested, a harmless stroke of sarcasm. More than 100 people in Maryland have earnestly called the state’s emergency management hotline asking about the use of household cleaners to treat COVID-19, according to Gov. Larry Hogan’s communications director.

Trump mused at a briefing on Thursday that disinfectant “knocks [the coronavirus] out in a minute, one minute” as Dr. Deborah Birx of Trump’s coronavirus task force hung her head in silent horror. The maker of Lysol urged consumers to not physically consume its products. And Marylanders used up valuable state resources to inquire whether they should follow the president’s advice.

The number one rule of sarcasm: It doesn’t work when you have to explain it.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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