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Deaths linked to excessive drinking surged during COVID-19 pandemic: CDC

Deaths linked to excessive drinking surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The study in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that the average annual number of deaths from “excessive alcohol use” rose by around 30 percent from 2016-2017 to 2020-2021. In the same period, the average annual number of deaths from “excessive alcohol use” rose by around 27 percent for men and 35 percent for women.

“During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020–2021, policies were widely implemented to expand alcohol carryout and delivery to homes, and places that sold alcohol for off-premise consumption (e.g., liquor stores) were deemed as essential businesses in many states (and remained open during lockdowns),” the authors of the study wrote.

The authors also noted that “[g]eneral delays in seeking medical attention, including avoidance of emergency departments for alcohol-related conditions; stress, loneli- ness, and social isolation; and mental health conditions might also have contributed to the increase in deaths from excessive alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A study from late 2021 found that the increased rate of consumption of alcohol would cause 100 more deaths and 2,800 additional cases of liver failure by the end of last year.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had many unintended consequences with unknown long-term impact. Our modeling study provides a framework for quantifying the long-term impact of increased alcohol consumption associated with COVID-19 and initiating conversations for potential interventions,” Turgay Ayer, a co-author of the study and the George Family Foundation Early Career Professor of Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, said in a release.  

Source: The Hill

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