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Trump says disinfectant comments were sarcasm

By The Associated Press • Updated Apr 24, 2020 at 2:23 PM

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says his comments suggesting people can ingest or inject disinfectant to fight COVID-19 was an attempt at sarcasm.

Trump noted Thursday that researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants on the virus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people, saying the virus “does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

But speaking to reporters in the Oval Office Friday, Trump insisted his comments were misconstrued. “I was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen,” Trump said.

Trump’s comments on disinfectants at Thursday’s briefing came after William Bryan, who leads the Science and Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, spoke about how researchers are testing the effect of disinfectants on virus-laden saliva and respiratory fluids on surfaces.

Apple and Google have outlined new privacy protections for smartphone apps that could help public health agencies send alerts to people if they spent more than 5 minutes near someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.

The tech giants announced earlier in April that they are jointly working to introduce a new app-building interface in May for billions of Apple and Android phones around the world.

The partnership will enable public health agencies to build phone apps that use Bluetooth short-range wireless beacons to automatically detect the proximity of nearby phones without revealing anyone’s identity or location.

The companies have so far resisted a push from some governments that want them to loosen privacy restrictions to make it easier for health agencies to track the whereabouts of COVID-19 patients and their contacts.

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