Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’Cha has spoken out against fake news circulating on social media about alcohol and COVID-19.
There was fake news circulating on Thai social media that consuming alcohol could help prevent COVID-19 or reduce symptoms. The prime minister stated these were false claims and that alcohol did not help prevent COVID-19 or limit symptoms.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, said the rumors on social media were completely wrong. He added that the Prime Minister had asked for people to stop sharing the fake news or they can face legal ramifications. There are strict laws in Thailand against spreading fake news.
The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) confirmed this was fake news.
The Ministry added that alcohol use weakens the immune system. Since alcohol use weakens immunity it can make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19 or its complications.
The MOPH has further stated that joining parties and gathering for consuming alcohol was a major spreader of COVID-19. Therefore, the Prime Minister through his spokesman has discouraged people from doing so.
Bars, pubs, and nightclubs have been legally closed in Thailand since April of 2021. But they have been allowed to be converted into restaurants for now.
Alcohol weakens the immune system
At the beginning of the pandemic, many myths were circulated about alcohol as a “remedy” for COVID-19. These myths kill people. In one incident, for example, 44 people died in Iran due to alcohol poisoning as they believed myths about alcohol’s properties to kill the coronavirus. They consumed large amounts of homemade liquor leading to alcohol poisoning and death. Many more were hospitalized.
Considering the harm caused by such myths, Movendi International shared scientific facts countering these myths.
Alcohol weakens the immune system.
Scientists have known for a long time that alcohol consumption is associated with negative health effects related to the immune system. Some of the connections that matter especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic are:
- Susceptibility to pneumonia,
- Greater likelihood of acute respiratory stress syndromes (ARDS), and
- Slower and less complete recovery from infections due to alcohol use.
Importantly, alcohol consumption does not have to be chronic to have negative health consequences for the immune system.
The World Health Organization has an entire page called “myth busters” to debunk the biggest misconceptions about coronavirus “prevention remedies”.
Lethal interaction between alcohol and COVID-19
The lethal interaction between alcohol and the COVID-19 pandemic was revealed in a groundbreaking report.
- Alcohol increases the health and societal problems arising from the pandemic. For example, alcohol weakens the immune system and makes people more susceptible to infections. And alcohol-centric social contexts have been COVID-19 super spreader events.
- Alcohol increases the burden on healthcare and emergency services which are already stretched due to the COVID-19.
- The alcohol industry exploits the pandemic to change alcohol laws to their private benefit.
Reducing alcohol availability during COVID-19 is a recommended solution by the World Health Organization to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to prevent other negative consequences during lockdowns.