Why WHO says you should avoid alcohol during pandemic

©TheAtlantaJournalConstitution

David Dee Delgado/Getty Images North America/TNS

All the memes about alcohol consumption during coronavirus self-isolation are funny, but the World Health Organization isn’t laughing.

“Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and mental health disorders, which can make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19,” WHO’s regional office for Europe wrote. “In particular, alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.”

WHO isn’t just talking about the bottles of wine people joke about consuming.

“Fear and misinformation have generated a dangerous myth that consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus. It does not,” WHO warned.

In fact, it can be deadly. In Iran, for example, 44 people died after drinking bootleg alcohol that was too strong. The alcohol was concocted after rumors spread it would kill the coronavirus.

WHO notes that alcohol consumption also increases risky behavior.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we should really ask ourselves what risks we are taking in leaving people under lockdown in their homes with a substance that is harmful both in terms of their health and the effects of their behaviour on others, including violence,” said Carina Ferreira-Borges, who is manager of the alcohol and illicit drugs program for WHO/Europe.

WHO even suggests restricting access to alcohol during the coronavirus pandemic.

———

©2020 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)