Monday, May 18, 2020

The World Health Organization and Alcohol During the COVID-19 Era

Over the past number of weeks, our health and government authorities have taken away most of the fun that we had in our previous lives (i.e. pre-COVID-19), largely following the lead of the World Health Organization's (aka Gates Health Organization) recommendations for social and physical distancing.  What you may not be aware of is the fact that WHO is trying to stop us from imbibing our favourite beverages.

Here are the first three pages from the "Alcohol and COVID-19: what you need to know" document as posted on the World Health Organization's European website noting that I have highlighted some key sections:

Several times throughout the document, WHO strongly recommends that all people should refrain from alcohol consumption and, if they do insist on consuming their favourite "adult" beverage, they must do it in small quantities and avoid getting intoxicated.

So, now that World Health Organization has taken that bit of fun away from us, let's see what they recommend as pastimes while under lockdown with my highlights:

1.) When working from home, adhere to your usual workplace rules and do not drink. Remember that after a lunch break you should still be in a fit state to work – and that is not possible if you are under the influence of alcohol.

2.) Alcohol is not a necessary part of your diet and should not be a priority on your shopping list. Avoid stockpiling alcohol at home, as this will potentially increase your alcohol consumption and the consumption of others in your household.

3.) Your time, money and other resources are better invested in buying healthy and nutritious food that will maintain good health and enhance your immune system response. For further ideas, take a look at the food and nutrition tips during self- quarantine issued by WHO.

4.) You might think that alcohol helps you to cope with stress, but it is not in fact a good coping mechanism, as it is known to increase the symptoms of panic and anxiety disorders, depression and other mental disorders, and the risk of family and domestic violence.

5.) Instead of consuming alcohol to pass your time at home, try an indoor workout. Physical activity strengthens the immune system and overall – from both a short- term and a long-term perspective – is a highly beneficial way of spending a period of quarantine.

I find it particularly interesting that, not only is the World Health Organization recommending the use of lockdowns to "flatten the curve" but they are now telling us that we have better places to spend our hard-earning dollars (or the money that we are getting from the government because our employer has closed because of the pandemic) than buying alcohol.  They do seem to have forgotten one thing; taxes on alcohol form a very important source of excise tax revenue for many jurisdictions.  If you are interested, here is a list of federal and state alcohol excise taxes for the United States and here is a map from the Tax Foundation showing how high taxes are on distilled spirits for all states: 

Here is a table showing alcohol tax rates in Canada:

Given the massive stimulus that governments have used to keep their citizens afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is very clear that the World Health Organization's recommendation to eliminate alcohol from our lives during the lockdown goes against what governments really need during this time.

1 comment:

  1. funny you mention canada...when we started our "essential businesses only" lockdown i was surprised to see alcohol and weed shops listed as "essential". as you said, it eventually dawned on me that the government (even the "all taxes are evil" MAGA types running the western provinces) just can't give up that sweet "sin tax" cash flow. so i guess there's a "bright side" to six packs of sam adams selling for $20.