Mr Trump, who has consistently looked for hopeful news about containing the virus, was asked if it was dangerous to make people think they would be safe by going outside in the heat, considering so many people have died in Florida.

“I hope people enjoy the sun. And if it has an impact, that’s great,” he replied, adding: “It’s just a suggestion from a brilliant lab by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant man.”

“I’m here to present ideas, because we want ideas to get rid of this thing. And if heat is good, and if sunlight is good, that’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned,” Mr Trump said. Pointing to his head, he went on: “I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”

“This notion of injecting or ingesting any type of cleansing product into the body is irresponsible, and it’s dangerous,” Dr Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert, told NBC News, adding that it could be deadly. 

Robert Reich, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a former labour secretary, tweeted: “Trump’s briefings are actively endangering the public’s health… Please don’t drink disinfectant.”

Dr Irwin Redlener, the director of the Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told the MSNBC network: “The very fact that the president actually asked somebody about what sounded like injecting disinfectants or isopropyl alcohol into the human body was kind of jaw-dropping.”

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