This Day in Failure: April 23

2020: In the midst of a nationally-televised daily coronavirus briefing, U.S. President Donald Trump asks aides whether zapping patients with light or injecting disinfectant into the lungs to clean sick patients from the inside can cure them of COVID-19.

Specifically, he says, “I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning ... it would be interesting to check that.” He goes on to say, “Suppos[e] we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light ... suppos[e] you brought the light inside the body, which you can do, either through the skin or in some other way?”


In the wake of Trump’s comments, Reckitt Benckiser, the company that makes Lysol, implores consumers not to consume its cleaning products, saying in a statement “As a global leader in health and hygiene 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).”

Meanwhile, Trump’s comments prompt the World Health Organization to post a statement on its Web site, saying, “Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease. You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is.”

1987: Both towers of the 16-story L’Ambiance Plaza (Bridgeport, Connecticut) apartment building collapse. Twenty-eight construction workers are killed in the accident.