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American adults over 30 say they’re drinking 14% more often during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report in the journal JAMA Network Open.
The Coronavirus Crisis
Hangover From Alcohol Boom Could Last Long After Pandemic Ends
The study took a sample of 1,540 adults and compared their self-reported drinking habits this spring with a year prior.
A quick look at social media suggests many people are using alcohol as a way to relax. Whether it’s «quarantinis» or Zoom happy hours, Americans seem to find a plethora of reasons to drink during the pandemic.
And as people began going to bars less, retail alcohol sales went up.
Stores sold 54% more alcohol in late March compared the year prior, according to Nielsen. Online sales more than doubled.
Some states like New York, Florida and Texas relaxed laws during the pandemic to allow expanded alcohol delivery.
The study used data collected using the RAND Corporation American Life Panel. The authors note a limitation of the study: its findings are based on self-reported data that could be skewed due to societal expectations. Nonetheless, they concluded more research could be warranted on alcohol use and its psychological and physical effects during the pandemic.
Earlier this year, the World Health Organization European office warned against excessive drinking and even said access should be limited during the pandemic.
Drinking may be even more dangerous now as it can negatively affect the body’s immune system, according to the WHO warning.
«Alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes,» the WHO stated. «Therefore, people should minimize their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.»