unorthodox ideas

Senate’s Leading Conspiracy Theorist Suggests Mouthwash for COVID

There he goes again. Photo: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Bloomberg via Getty Images

There is extremely stiff competition, but Senator Ron Johnson might be the least responsible national lawmaker, COVID-wise. The Wisconsin senator, who has said he won’t get vaccinated (he claims getting the virus was good enough for his immunity), has been a foremost purveyor of quackery throughout the pandemic: talking up ivermectin though its benefits as a COVID treatment are unproven; highlighting stories of those who claim they’ve been harmed by vaccines; and much more. (His conspiracy theories are hardly limited to COVID matters; he has also advanced the idea that the Capitol riots were a false flag.)

So it was hardly a surprise when Johnson asserted on Wednesday night that people who have been infected with COVID give mouthwash a shot. Johnson made the comments during a virtual town hall meeting with constituents:

“There are things you can do” to combat the virus, he said. “By the way, standard gargling — mouthwash has been proven to kill the coronavirus, even if you get it, you may reduce viral replication. Why not try all these things?”

Johnson’s suggestion is not actively harmful in and of itself. But as a collection of undoubtedly weary medical professionals (and a representative from Listerine) told the Washington Post, it seems highly unlikely that mouthwash will help with an incipient case of COVID, even if it could kill off some virus particles in the mouth.

And Johnson’s “let’s throw everything at the wall” approach is just slightly undercut by the fact that he will never endorse the one thing that has really stuck there: getting vaccinated.

Senate’s Leading Conspiracist Suggests Mouthwash for COVID