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


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Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

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