Bad Advice From Dictators: Gasoline Edition!

Bad Advice From Dictators: Gasoline Edition!

Has anyone else noticed a strong correlation between “countries where Covid-19 misinformation proliferates readily” and “countries with strong autocratic tendencies”? Maybe it’s just the fumes getting to me, but I’m pretty sure Rodrigo Duterte told the 106 million Filipinos he ostensibly governs to huff gasoline.

The Philippines under Duterte’s regime is a brutal place to live, and as it pertains specifically to covid, it’s hard to say whether his policy of arresting those caught without masks during the pandemic is more or less awful than the US and Brazil’s own reality denialism. But while his dictatorial colleagues continue to push conspiracies — chiefly, the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine — Duterte has really swung for the fences by inventing some truly awful public health advice, seemingly all on his own.

In the absence of actual cleaning supplies, Reuters reports he recommended disinfecting soiled face masks with good old unleaded. “Just go to the gasoline station, and then have some drops, that’s disinfectant,” he said. Do I need to tell you not to do this? People are doing a lot of incredibly stupid things these days so maybe! Let’s cover those bases really quick:

  • Gasoline is not a disinfectant

  • Gasoline is not a disinfectant

  • Gasoline is not a disinfectant

  • Inhaling gasoline can cause swelling of the throat, dizziness, convulsions, dangerously low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, esophageal burns, and bloody vomiting

  • And again: Gasoline is not a disinfectant!!

Those close to Duterte apparently tried to run damage control by claiming the repressive president was simply joking — a familiar tactic for the bootlicking enablers of unhinged leaders around the world. He clarified his remarks today by saying the following:

“I am not joking. That is true. You think I am just kidding.”

Good to know, Rodrigo!

It’s unclear what Duterte stands to gain by getting some segment of the Philippines ripshit high on inhalants and likely sending a considerable subset of those people on a very unpleasant trip to the ER. As with any unvetted medical advice from dictators, we recommend letting the dumbass making these claims act as the first case study before more fulsome human trials begin.

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