Alcohol kills 14 in Iran in misguided effort to kill virus

Bloomberg – Fourteen people in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province died overnight from alcohol poisoning, the Fars News Agency reported Monday, as some turned to ingesting industrial-grade ethanol and methanol in a misguided effort to stave off the coronavirus tearing through the country.

Deaths from alcohol poisoning were also reported in the provinces of Tehran and Alborz. An unfounded rumor has spread through the country that drinking alcohol will kill the virus, and hospitals have seen a spike in alcohol-poisoning cases, the Mehr news agency reported. More than 200 are reported hospitalized in Khuzestan alone, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.

Iran is the Middle Eastern country hardest hit by the virus, which has spread across across all its provinces to infect over 6,000 people and kill more than 100. The country’s health care system, burdened by U.S. sanctions and an ailing economy, has faced shortages in supplies and medicine as it fights to contain the crisis.