Drinking booze may put people at increased risk for coming down with the coronavirus, the World Health Organization warned.
The consumption of alcohol has proven to weaken the body’s immune system and can make drinkers more likely to engage in other risky behaviors that could heighten their chances of catching the virus, according to a new report released Tuesday.
“Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes,” the WHO’s regional office for Europe said. “Therefore, people should minimize their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The group called for measures to limit the amount of alcohol that can be consumed during lockdowns.
“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 behavior on others, including violence,” said Carina Ferreira-Borges, who helps run the office’s Alcohol and Illicit Drugs Program.
The WHO also debunked the myth that drinking alcohol can kill the dangerous virus, which has spread to more than 2 million people worldwide.
“Fear and misinformation have generated a dangerous myth that consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus,” the WHO said, adding that high-strength substances, such as ethyl alcohol, “can result in severe health consequences, including death.”