Is Listerine unsafe? Ron Johnson slammed for promoting mouthwash as Covid cure

'For the record when Trump was pushing Clorox I just knew that Listerine would have it’s day and here we are,' a user tweeted sarcastically


                            Is Listerine unsafe? Ron Johnson slammed for promoting mouthwash as Covid cure
GOP Senator Ron Johnson reportedly said gargling with Listerine kills Covid-19 virus (Samuel Gorum/Getty Images, Listerine)

More than a year after Donald Trump's disinfectant disaster, GOP Senator Ron Johnson has recommended another quack cure for Covid-19, amid rising risk of the deadly Omicron variant. Addressing the crowd during a virtual town hall session, the 66-year-old Republican advocated the "gargle mouthwash" to kill the Covid-19 virus. "By the way, standard gargle mouthwash, has been proven to kill the coronavirus. If you get it, you may reduce viral replication. Why not try all these things?" he said while speaking at the event. He went on to add, "It just boggles my mind that the NIH (National Institutes of Health) tell people, 'Do nothing. Maybe take Tylenol.'"

There is no scientific evidence to back up Ron Johnson's claim. In fact, Listerine, the top-selling mouthwash brand in the USA, had issued a disclaimer rejecting claims that their product can cure Covid-19. "LISTERINE® Antiseptic is not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19 and should be used only as directed on the product label," the company explicitly mentions on their website. 

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"More research is needed to understand whether the use of mouthwashes can impact viral transmission, exposure, viral entry, viral load and ultimately affect meaningful clinical outcomes. The available data is insufficient, and no evidence-based clinical conclusions can be drawn with regards to the anti-viral efficacy," reads an excerpt from the Listerine website, contesting unfounded claims around using it as an effective Covid-19 treatment. 

As far as Ron Johnson is concerned, this is not the first time the GOP Senator has been flagged for propagating Covid-19 misinformation. In fact, his YouTube account was suspended for a week last month before for falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines had killed 17,619 in the United States. The data was lifted from VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System), which has been described by Newsweek as "a national self-reporting database where anyone can report vaccine reactions." Even in June 2021, Johnson landed in controversy for posting a video that advocated for 'alternate therapies' other than vaccination to treat the virus. 

Ron Johnson was unabashedly lambasted on social media after his latest remarks about Mouthwash. "For the love of ivermectin, just get vaxxed and save the Listerine for date night," journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted. 

"For the record when Trump was pushing Clorox I just knew that Listerine would have it’s day and here we are," one user tweeted sarcastically.

"I do use #Listerine. I also got COVID vaccinated because I'm not an idiot," a third user wrote.