The Adverse Effects of Alcohol Consumption During the Pandemic
The ban on alcohol and tobacco sales was implemented on March 27. At the time, the government stated that the bans were necessary to reduce the demand upon hospital trauma wards and to limit respiratory diseases. Home sales of alcohol were allowed from June 1, but the ban was reintroduced on July 13 after trauma admissions surged. It is interesting to observe the adverse effects of alcohol upon vulnerable parts of the community in response to this pandemic. In Australia, there have been huge spikes in alcohol consumption and incidents of domestic violence during this pandemic. I spoke to a policeman last week, who shared with me that he has been attending these incidents in his constabulary at never before seen rates. People are not dealing with the stress of this crisis well and indulging in excessive alcohol consumption is making things a hell of a lot worse.
The Human Cost of the Misuse of Alcohol is Misery & Violence
In South Africa, alcohol and tobacco producers and retailers have complained about the economic damage to their businesses and the loss of jobs in their industries. Governments have missed out on tax revenue and there have been reports of illegal trade flourishing in these products. It seems that this virus pits our health concerns up against our economic concerns here in South Africa and right around the globe. The human cost of the misuse of alcohol consumption is misery and violence, with women and children bearing the brunt in many cases.
The lifting of the prohibition on the sale of alcohol will make many people happy but there will be ongoing costs in terms of community health and wellbeing. Cases of COVID-19 have dropped from 12, 000 a day to around 5 000 a day. Hospitalised coronavirus patients have fallen from 10, 000 to about 4 000 in August. However, the government’s declared state of disaster has been extended until September 15. It seems that things are heading in the right direction and hopefully a vaccine is just around the corner. We wish all our friends and compatriots everywhere our very best during this challenging time.