Ezike warns against ingesting household cleaners after spike in poison calls

(The Center Square) – The state government’s top doctor told people Saturday not to ingest household cleaners or common disinfectants after a spike in calls to the Illinois Poison Center.

“Injecting, ingesting, snorting household cleaners is dangerous, it is not advised and can be deadly,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said Saturday.

The Illinois Poison Center reported a “significant increase” in calls since Thursday compared to the same time period in 2019, Ezike said. One of the calls was from a person who had consumed a mixture of bleach and mouthwash in an effort to kill the new coronavirus, she said.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump made comments about testing light and a method for disinfecting the body. He later said the comments were sarcastic.

Ezike also reported 2,119 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 80 additional deaths.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported a total of 41,777 cases, including 1,874 deaths, of COVID-19 statewide as of Saturday.

Cases have been reported in 96 of the state’s 102 counties.

Also on Saturday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinois needs a progressive income tax more than ever after being asked by a business group’s call to remove the tax amendment from the November ballot.

The Illinois Business Alliance has said raising taxes will hurt businesses already struggling and cutting jobs because of the COVID-19 recession.

“Apparently they don’t fully understand how income taxes work, but you only pay income taxes based upon getting net income, so it is certainly true that people will have much lower net income this year as a result of the economic challenge that COVID-19 has brought to everybody, companies included,” Pritzker said when asked about the group’s recommendation. “And so that’s my response – people who are either going to break even or who lose money this year won’t pay any income tax and people who make less than they normally do would pay a lower income tax.”

He added: “Now more than ever we need to have a fair tax system for the state of Illinois.

The General Assembly passed the progressive income tax amendment in 2019. If approved by voters in November, the amendment would allow for a graduated income tax structure in Illinois with higher rates for people who earn more money.

Pritzker has said the progressive income tax amendment would increase tax revenues by more than $3 billion and result in modest income tax reductions for about 97 percent of taxpayers. Business groups have said the progressive income tax will hurt small businesses, which they said could affect the economy and push more people to move out of Illinois.

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