Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., speaks at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on Feb. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., speaks at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on Feb. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Wisconsin’s senior US senator, who has spent months trying to undermine COVID-19 vaccines, proposes using mouthwash to fight the virus.

Republican US Sen. Ron Johnson on Wednesday falsely suggested people who contract the coronavirus should gargle mouthwash to slow the virus’ spread.

“By the way, standard gargle—mouthwash—has been proven to kill the coronavirus,” Johnson said in a town hall, audio of which was published by Heartland Signal. “If you get it, you may reduce viral replication. Why not try all these things?”

It was the latest instance of COVID-19 misinformation from Johnson, who throughout the pandemic has been a superspreader of COVID-19 falsehoods, opponent of vaccines, and proponent of disproven virus treatments.

RELATED: 17 Wisconsinites Have Had Ivermectin Poisoning. Doctors Urge People Like Ron Johnson to Stop Promoting It.

Listerine, one of the largest mouthwash brands, says on its own website that it “is not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19 and should be used only as directed on the product label,” adding that “no evidence-based clinical conclusions can be drawn” about its efficacy in fighting COVID-19.

Vaccinations remain the most effective way of guarding against COVID-19. According to data from the state Department of Health Services, unvaccinated people are about five times more likely to contract the virus, 11 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and 15 times more likely to die from the virus than vaccinated individuals. 

Throughout the pandemic, Johnson has downplayed the severity of the virus that has now killed about 9,300 Wisconsintes and nearly 800,000 Americans

Johnson himself contracted COVID-19 last year, but he has never changed his tune. He has continued to speak out against vaccines and said he will not get one, even though medical experts say people who were previously infected with the virus should get vaccinated. Early evidence also suggests previous infection offers little protection from the emerging Omicron variant.

The senator has also repeatedly pushed ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as potential COVID-19 treatments, even though they do not work against the disease. In August, 17 Wisconsin residents had been treated for ivermectin poisoning after Johnson and fellow Republicans started promoting its use.