Consuming alcohol cannot protect you from coronavirus

Coronavirus False Health

As the battle against the coronavirus intensifies with record number of deaths being reported on a daily basis, medical experts have highlighted the importance of self-quarantine as the best form of defence against the communal spread of the deadly disease. 

As a result, governments around the world have considered the option of some form of lockdown for entire countries or specific regions in an effort to control COVID-19. In Sri Lanka, government has imposed curfew till 6am on March 23, and a work from home week has been announced till 27th March.

Yet as elaborated by Police Media spokesman, certain communities still have not realized the gravity of the situation and the meaning of social distancing, with friends and families in neighborhoods getting together to arrange small functions often associated with alcoholic beverages.

In this backdrop we noticed few posts circulating on social media, some as satire while others on a more serious note, quoting recommendations from official sources as well. Below is one such post which was shared with the caption “නවත්තන්න කියලා හිතුවා විතරයි…translating to English as “Just when we thought of stopping…” along with an image of a letter said to be from Saint Luke’s Hospital.

The text narrative in the letter “After extensive research, our findings show that consuming alcoholic beverages may help reduce the risk of infection by the novel coronavirus; COVID-19. Vodka is the most recommended for drinking, cleaning and sanitizing”

This was shared among multiple Facebook users as shown.

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We also noticed posts similar to the one shared below with the narrative “Finally the cure of Corona virus is here which is, alcohol so if you are not taking alcohol you are on your own tankio”

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Fact Check 

Ever since the start of COVID-19 in late December 2019, World Health Organization and health officials around the world have stressed the importance of hand hygiene to reduce the spread of the virus. 

CDC Recommendations

Alcohol being a key ingredient in hand sanitizers, use of alcohol based hand-rub, had often been misinterpreted as consumption of alcohol is a recommendation to control the virus.

Due to number of such queries on effect of alcohol on COVID-19, WHO has replied in its Q&A on a Facebook post as “No, drinking alcohol does not protect you from coronavirus infection. Alcohol should always be consumed in moderation and people who do not drink alcohol should not start drinking in an attempt to prevent the infection”

Furthermore, in WHO’s Myth Buster section also they have indicated that spraying alcohol or chlorine all over the body will not kill viruses and in fact can be harmful if sprayed closer to mucous membranes (i.e. eyes or mouth)

While inspecting Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, we notice that in a Facebook post they had denied making a statement recommending alcohol for COVID-19 and had replied as “False reports are circulating that say drinking alcohol can reduce the risk of COVID-19. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Saint Luke’s follows CDC guidance:” Below is the original post by Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City

As concern about coronavirus grows, hand sanitizer are in high demand. This article explains why alcohol is a key ingredient in hand sanitizer, and why it is not recommend to make your our own supply at home.

Guide to Local Production: WHO-recommended Hand-rub Formulations

Conclusion 

From our investigation it is clear that while WHO and CDC both recommends use of alcohol based sanitizer for hand hygiene the claim that “consuming alcoholic beverages may help reduce the risk of infection by the novel coronavirus; COVID-19” is totally baseless and false. Consuming alcohol does not protect you from coronavirus infection.

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Title:Consuming alcohol cannot protect you from coronavirus

Fact Check By: Sathyajith Subasinghe 

Result: False

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