Americans are drinking more during the COVID-19 pandemic. But how much alcohol is too much?
CLOSE The World Health Organization warns that alcohol may put people at increased risk for coronavirus and weaken the body’s immune system. WochitThe coronavirus pandemic has Americans drinking more.Sales of at-home alcohol, according to a Nielsen report from June, have spiked nearly 27% since the start of the pandemic. And though that doesn’t take into account shutdowns of bars and restaurants nationwide, it suggests people are turning to alcohol to cope with a life-altering global crisis.Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary at Department of Health and Human Services and head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, told USA TODAY in May that more people reportedly sought treatment for alcohol misuse in regions where the coronavirus has hit hardest.A drink or two to take the edge off may seem like a harmless idea. And given historic unemployment rates, a pandemic that shows no signs of slowing down and the ceaseless specter of racial inequality, a couple of more bottles of beer or glasses of wine might sound appealing. After all, Dr. George F. Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told USA TODAY that past research has found people are more likely to drink – and drink more – “during times