NBC News Highlights UV Light ‘Sanitizing’ Against Coronavirus

UV light (Raul Arboleda / AFP / Getty)
Raul Arboleda / AFP / Getty

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt reported Monday evening that ultraviolet (UV) light is “now one of the weapons zapping the coronavirus.”

President Donald Trump was widely ridiculed — including by NBC — for touting similar technology in April.

On Monday, NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reported:

From the subway system in New York, to a restaurant in Arizona, to this classroom in Missouri, UV light is now one of the weapons zapping the coronavirus.

Ultraviolet light is a band of electromagnetic radiation that’s invisible to the human eye. It’s powerful but has also been considered dangerous. But a new technology, far-UVC, is safer. It’s being used to kill viruses even with humans around, even in Seattle’s iconic space needle.

The NBA’s Orlando Magic started using UV light at its practice facility last year, even before COVID-19.

Still, experts warn not all UV sanitizing devices are equally effective. While sales of some in-home products have skyrocketed, they’re not approved by the FDA for prevention of COVID-19.

Low-tech solutions are still the gold standard. But with more public buildings lighting up, there is hope this bright idea might help too.

Gutierrez did not mention the controversy over the president’s comments.

In April, NBC reported: “President Donald Trump suggested the possibility of an ‘injection’ of disinfectant into a person infected with the coronavirus as a deterrent to the virus during his daily briefing Thursday.”

The president’s full remarks discussed experimental UV technologies. He speculated that UV light might be used inside the body. From the White House transcript:

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  So I asked Bill a question that probably some of you are thinking of, if you’re totally into that world, which I find to be very interesting.  So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light — and I think you said that that hasn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it.  And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too.  It sounds interesting.

ACTING UNDER SECRETARY BRYAN:  We’ll get to the right folks who could.

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.  And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute.  One minute.  And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning.  Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs.  So it would be interesting to check that.  So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with.  But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.

Four days before the press conference, a biotech firm announced a partnership with the prestigious Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A. to test a new technology that involves inserting a catheter into the body to use UV light to kill pathogens.

After his initial remarks at the press conference, the president was then asked by a journalist whether he meant disinfectant — such as alcohol — could be “injected into a person.”

He replied:

THE PRESIDENT: It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t work. But it certainly has a big effect if it’s on a stationary object.

The president’s words were twisted — by NBC, among others — and Democratic rival Joe Biden has accused him, falsely, of telling Americans to drink bleach.

Now NBC is reporting on the use of the technology the president was talking about, albeit for “sterilization of an area,” as Trump said, not for “injection.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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