President Rodrigo Duterte advised the public to use gasoline to disinfect face masks to be able to reuse them.
“Maski na gamitin mo ‘yan dalawang beses okay man, i-sprayan mo nalang ng alcohol… Pagkatapos ng araw, hang it somewhere i-sprayan mo ng Lysol if you can afford it. ‘Yung wala, ibabad mo ng gasolina o diesel,” he said after suggesting that people who can’t afford aerosol disinfectant sprays can follow this advice.
One reporter asked if the president’s recommendation was safe, but the DOH offered no definitive answer.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire only responded by saying that the DOH and the FDA recommend handwashing and use of alcohol.
“Kung wala pong magagamit na malinis na tubig at sabon, inire-rekomenda po ng DOH at FDA na gumamit po ng alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
“Ang mga alcohol po dapat ay naglalaman ng 70 percent ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol samantalang ang alcohol-based hand sanitizers ay dapat po naglalaman ng 60 percent ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol,” Vergeire said on Tuesday.
Vergeire also pointed out that alcohol in certain amounts is necessary to eradicate microbes, bacteria, and viruses.
Jason Abalos couldn’t help but react to the president’s comments, tweeting “Kaya pa ba mahal na president?”
Kaya pa ba mahal na presidente? https://t.co/7s9UYvN7Pn
— jason abalos (@thejasonabalos) July 22, 2020
Karen Davila thought his recommendation was absurd.
Unbelievable 🙈 https://t.co/Vzk5HOivGi
— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) July 21, 2020
Agot Isidro also had something to say.
Parang sya lang.
Oops. Na-tweet. https://t.co/dLrrtUIcfu
— Agot Isidro (@agot_isidro) July 22, 2020
Vergeire then clarified during a briefing on Wednesday that Duterte might have just been joking.
“Alam niyo naman, ‘pag nagsasalita si Presidente, baka mga jokes lang niya ‘yun, especially for gasoline,” she said.
Vergeire also said that Duterte was referring to reusable cloth masks when he said that people can use theirs twice.
“May department memo tayo on rational use of protective equipment. ‘Pag ikaw ay may symptoms, gamitin mo surgical mask. ‘Pag ikaw ay nagtatrabaho sa ospital, N95 mask. Kapag sa community, cloth mask.
“Hindi mo ‘yan puwede hugasan. Kasi ‘pag hinugasan mo ‘yan, may mga components ‘yang mask na certain filtering mechanism, kapag hinugasan mo o binasa mo ‘yan, mawawala na ang effect no’n,” she added.
Vergeire added that cloth masks can be washed and hung to dry after use.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) actually states that gasoline can cause asphyxiation in enclosed low-lying areas.
Prolonge gasoline contact on the skin can also cause irritation and dermatitis. Gasoline can cause first- and second-degree skin burns.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have gasoline in its list of disinfectants for COVID-19 but ethyl and isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorine dioxide are.
70 percent ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol are the most effective against killing viruses while hand sanitizers should contain at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
The Philippines has 74,390 confirmed cases with 1,871 deaths.