Alcohol takes deadlier toll than the virus

I’d like to respond to the April 9 article headlined “Erie senator seeks permanent cocktails-to-go.”

The article says, “33 states adopted alcohol-to-go programs in the early days of COVID-19.” I’d like to point out how illogical that is.

As of the day I’m writing this the official number of deaths from COVID worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic is 6,142,579. Over that same period alcohol has killed an estimated 7,216,438 people according to the World Health Organization. One can draw from this that alcohol is a greater threat to human life than COVID. I want to make it clear that the over 6 million people who have died from COVID is a tragedy, and I’m not here to debate mask wearing or the accuracy of that number.

What I would like to point out is that we shut down the world economy, closed ourselves off in our houses and basically were willing to move heaven and earth due to fear of death and disease from COVID…..while at the same time made it easier to access something more deadly than COVID.

Here’s some statistics from the WHO:

¯ Worldwide, 3 million deaths every year result from harmful use of alcohol, this represent 5.3 % of all deaths.

¯ The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions.

¯ Overall 5.1 % of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

¯ Alcohol consumption causes death and disability relatively early in life. In the age group 20 to 39 years approximately 13.5 % of the total deaths are alcohol-attributable.

¯ There is a causal relationship between harmful use of alcohol and a range of mental and behavioral disorders, other noncommunicable conditions as well as injuries.

¯ The latest causal relationships have been established between harmful drinking and incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis as well as the course of HIV/AIDS.

¯ Beyond health consequences, the harmful use of alcohol brings significant social and economic losses to individuals and society at large.

To understand how deadly alcohol is let me state it this way. Every two years alcohol kills as many people as the number of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. The Holocaust began on Jan. 30, 1933, and ended on May 8, 1945, an estimated 6 million Jews were killed in 4,481 days. Alcohol takes only 730 days to kill the same number of people.

Allowing alcohol-to-go programs during COVID was completely illogical and directly counter to the very reason we were told to stay home.

If the goal of the shutdown was to preserve life and reduce the risk of poor health, allowing more ways for people to buy what has been called “the earths primary assassin of the human mind, who simulates in the guise of its dearest friend” (Rabbi Cohen), is a logical fallacy.

I can understand why Sen. Laughlin and the restaurant and lodging association would want to help businesses, but this is the wrong way to go about it. I believe that Sen. Laughlin is falling into thinking what was stated in that quote. He’s seeing alcohol in a positive light, as a dear friend rather than an assassin.

To view alcohol as fun and harmless cannot be justified by data and is a product of wrong thinking. Make no mistake, alcohol is a plague on humanity just like COVID only more deadly. Increasing access to alcohol in a setting where one drives with the beverage and then consumes it at home potentially alone, will increase the danger of drunk driving as well as antisocial behavior and loneliness. Alcohol-to-go didn’t make sense in the beginning of the pandemic and it doesn’t make sense now.

Ryan Landers is a Russell resident.


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