coronavirus

QAnon Influencers Are Encouraging Their Followers to Drink Bleach to Stave Off Coronavirus

Don’t confuse the French bleach brand La Croix with its American counterpart. Photo: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images

Proponents of the QAnon conspiracy, which alleges that the Russia investigation was a front so President Trump could expose rampant pedophilia in the Democratic Establishment and prevent a deep-state coup, generally aren’t great interpreters of the news — unless they are — making this older demographic somewhat vulnerable to scamming. In 2018, in an uncle-driven raid on the foreign exchange market, some of Trump’s true followers dumped their savings into the Iraqi dinar following an offhand claim from the president that all currencies would soon “be on a level playing field.”

This month, as an outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus brings fears of a pandemic, QAnon promoters are pulling out an old homeopathic favorite to stave off infection: According to the Daily Beast, influencers popular within the conspiracy are encouraging their followers to buy a mixture called Miracle Mineral Solution, also known as MMS, also known as bleach.

Adherents of some fringe groups consider the liquid solution of sodium chlorite to be a panacea for autism, hepatitis, the flu, cancer, and HIV. The Food and Drug Administration, however, considers this commercially available product to be the “same as drinking bleach” because of the common practice of adding lemon juice or another citric acid to make it a beverage. “When the acid is added,” the FDA explains, “the mixture becomes chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleaching agent.”

MMS is often consumed by swishing it around like a mouthwash, dabbing it on the face to treat acne, or blasting the eyes with a bleach potion. Side effects of its ingestion include severe vomiting and diarrhea, a potentially deadly drop in blood pressure, and acute liver failure; the benefits do not include the prevention of coronavirus or cancer.

“I’m going to have to get home and MMS the whole state,” said QAnon influencer Jordan Sather, who is active on YouTube and Twitter, in a recent video, according to the Daily Beast’s account. “MMS the whole shit out of everything.” Another QAnon promoter suggested that his 17,000 followers purchase a bleach “spray” and detailed its benefits: “I use this all the time to protect myself and my family. It kills viruses quick.” He linked to a website that provides directions for oral consumption — “spraying this mixture in your mouth & swishing it around and swallowing” — as well as instructions for use on the face and eyes in order “to improve vision and help with cataracts.”

Though the recent outbreak in China is caused by a new, relatively unknown strain of a virus family that includes SARS, some leaders within QAnon, including Sather, have a theory for an ailment that conveniently fits into this subculture’s worldview. It is a “new fad disease,” he told his followers, that was “planned” by Bill and Melinda Gates as part of a eugenic plot and “depopulation agenda” to be achieved primarily through mass vaccination.