Lockdowns KILL: Alcoholism On The Rise Since COVID Lockdowns And Hospitals Are Worried

By Seth Cutler | Wednesday, 10 August 2022 02:15
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The habit of at-home boozing Americans picked up throughout the Covid-19 pandemic is here to remain — and it will lead to hundreds of thousands more hospital visits and a multi-billion dollar medical bill, new research shows.

One study this month discovered that at-home drinking 'spiked" in 2020 and held strong in 2021. Many Americans will be "keeping the party at " even as Covid-19 restrictions fade and bars and eateries get busier, it announced.

A different study discovered that widespread boozing at home will take a huge toll. Over five years, this will mean 295,000 extra hospital visits caused by alcohol and $5.4 billion more in healthcare costs.

Carolina Barbosa, a health economist with RTI, a North Carolina-based research institute, warned that increased rates of boozing throughout the pandemic will probably proceed and carry a "significant health and economic burden" in the U.S.

Barbosa’s team studied the drinking habits of adults aged over 21 from the early stage of the pandemic, between February and November 2020, when alcohol consumption rates shot up by roughly 37 percent.

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Higher rates of boozing were more marked among women, the over 50s and minorities.

Researchers next calculated the further toll from five years of higher rates of boozing — and produced the worrying estimates of increased hospitalizations and medical costs.

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Hospital visits for cirrhosis of the liver alone would add up to an extra $3.0 billion, announced the study.

The different study, from IRI, a data analysis firm, discovered that "many consumers are opting to celebrate and socialize at home" even as the pandemic abates, lockdowns are lifted, and more people head to bars and restaurants for fun.

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Many people have continued drinking at home to save money, as inflation hikes up prices of beer, wine, spirits and other groceries, announced the study. Others are using a growing number of online and in-app alcohol delivery services.

Nowadays, 78 percent of meals are prepared at home, compared to 48 percent pre-Covid-19 — another reason for imbibing in kitchens and lounges across the U.S., stated researchers.

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Booze producers are further targeting at-home drinkers with organic wine, low-calorie beer, hard seltzers and alcoholic kombucha — products that are popular and purport to be healthier than traditional tipples.

Celebrity-endorsed products have likewise attracted new drinkers, states the study, including Kendall Jenner’s "818" tequila and rapper Snoop Dogg’s Cali Red, which is aimed at "non-traditional" wine drinkers.

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Pre-mixed cocktails are likewise proving popular in U.S. sitting rooms. Coca-Cola and Brown-Forman Corp., the maker of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, are set to issue the canned Jack and Coke later this year.

The U.S. government’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in June warned that alcohol sales grew by 2.9 percent in the early pandemic year, 2020 — the biggest increase in more than five decades.

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