the body more susceptible to infection.
A major part of the update was dedicated to misinformation surrounding alcohol consumption and protection from Covid-19:
“Fear and misinformation have generated a dangerous myth that consuming high-strength alcohol can kill the COVID-19 virus. It does not. Consuming any alcohol poses health risks, but consuming high-strength ethyl alcohol (ethanol), particularly if it has been adulterated with methanol, can result in severe health consequences, including death.”
Methanol, sometimes called methyl alcohol, is a type of alcohol with a different chemical structure than ethanol, the kind that we drink. This difference makes it toxic: As it’s broken down in the body, it’s transformed into formaldehyde, which in turn becomes formic acid, a compound that can cause blindness and death. Methanol is often added to industrial ethanol products, such as solvents, to prevent people from drinking them, but it’s also sometimes added to bootleg liquor.
People who believe that drinking the boozy kind of alcohol can kill the coronavirus might be confused about the virus-killing properties of yet another type of alcohol known as isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol), the kind you buy in the first aid aisle in a drugstore and apply to the skin. This type of alcohol can kill the virus on surfaces, but only at high enough concentrations — the CDC recommends 60% alcohol or more for hands, and 70% or more for other surfaces. Any less and it’s not effective, as the New York Times cautioned people against trying to make their own hand sanitizer. And you should definitely not drink it.
Pandemic or not, the risks of alcohol use remain the same as always, regardless of the type of alcohol and how you use it. Drinking ethanol still comes with health risks, consuming methanol is still toxic, and isopropyl alcohol is still only useful on surfaces at high enough concentrations. For more information, y