Officials say some Georgians treat COVID with bleach-like cleaner

Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said Monday that the state Department of Public Health has received reports that people are using diluted chlorine dioxide to “treat” COVID-19.

“Chlorine dioxide is a bleach-like cleaning agent and, if ingested, can have severe, adverse health effects, including death,” Kemp’s office said in a press release.

Chlorine dioxide products have not been shown to be safe and effective for any use. The governor’s office said products are being marketed under various names: Aqueous Chlorine Dioxide, CDS, Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Solution, MSS, Water Purification Solution and others.

Health officials said taking chlorine dioxide products can lead to respiratory failure, fatal abnormal heart rhythms, life-threatening low blood pressure, liver failure, low blood cell counts, and severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Chlorine dioxide is an active ingredient in disinfectants and has additional industrial uses, the DPH said.

The press release urges people to call the Georgia Poison Center Hotline — 1-800-222-1222 — if they or somebody they know ingested it.

President Donald Trump earlier this year was ridiculed for musing about injecting COVID-19 patients with disinfectants. He later said he was being “sarcastic.”

Still, Trump’s comments prompted the distributor of Lysol to issue a press release warning that “under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”

In April, after Trump made the remark, two people in Georgia drank liquid cleaning products in misguided attempts to ward off COVID-19, according to the Georgia Poison Center. Both men had histories of psychiatric problems and were expected to recover.