The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has triggered the world’s worst public health challenge in the last 100 years. In response, many countries have implemented disease control measures such as enforced quarantine and travel restrictions. These measures have inadvertent adverse effects on the mental health and psyche of populations. Long-term social isolation is associated with alcohol use and misuse, creating a potential public health crisis.
Alcohol and its intermediate products of metabolism have a multisystemic effect with an impact on the liver, heart, lungs as well as other organs in the body. Similarly, COVID-19 mediate a damaging effect on organ systems through cytopathic effects and cytokine storm. Alcoholism potentially increases the risk of cardiac injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary fibrosis, and liver damage in synergy with COVID-19; thereby worsening disease prognosis and outcome.
We conclude that the history of excessive alcohol consumption needs to be factored into the clinical management of COVID-19 patients. Similarly, epidemiologists and public health experts need to create public awareness on the need for cessation of alcohol abuse while instituting public health measures to control the spread of the infection.