Back to Africa Check

No, drinking alcohol won’t kill the coronavirus

“Alcohol kills coronavirus,” reads the text on what seems to be a screengrab of a CNN news broadcast shared on Facebook in Kenya. It shows CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.

Text on the image below the screengrab reads: “Wacha tukunywe sasa.” That’s Kiswahili for “Let’s drink now."

“The cure has been found,” commented the user posting it. “Tag mlevi mwenzako.” That means “Tag your drinking friend.”

But a reverse image search reveals that the screengrab is frequently manipulated to carry many different messages.

Africa Check has previously debunked a version that claimed “constant sex kills coronavirus”.

Only use alcohol to disinfect hands and surfaces

Drinking alcohol doesn’t kill the new coronavirus.

The image may be intended as a joke, but during the global coronavirus pandemic any false information can be dangerous.

The only alcohol the World Health Organization recommends using to fight Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, is an alcohol-based hand rub.

“Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands,” the WHO says. Alcohol is also “useful to disinfect surfaces”.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises: “If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.”

Alcohol can cause diseases

The WHO’s Facebook page is more explicit. “Does drinking alcohol prevent the new coronavirus? No, drinking alcohol does not protect you from coronavirus infection,” it says

“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.”

And drinking too much alcohol can itself cause a range of diseases, the WHO says, from cancer to liver cirrhosis and foetal alcohol syndrome. – Dancan Bwire


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.