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US alcohol sales spike but alcohol doesn’t protect you against COVID-19 but may actually kill you

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So far, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 120,000 lives worldwide. According to the WHO, alcohol kills 3 million people worldwide every year, a third of which in the WHO European Region. Fighting COVID-19 with alcohol is completely wrong, says the WHO in a warning today.

Fear and misinformation have generated a dangerous myth that consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus. It does not. 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. In particular, alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.

WHO warning issued 14 April 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have been panic-buying more than just toilet paper. Alcohol sales spiked 55% in the United States in the week ending March 21, according to data from market research firm Nielsen. Online alcohol sales were up 243%. According to a survey by, 1 in 5 respondents said they stockpiled alcohol for just that reason. However, many people are also drinking more in general: 1 in 3 respondents said they are likely to increase alcohol consumption in isolation.

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