Different countries’ corona strategies have handled alcohol consumption in very different ways. Some countries were quick to reduce the availability of alcoholic drinks, while others have viewed alcohol as a possible lifesaver for the local economy.
The researchers behind the series of reports entitled “Alcohol and Society” consequently decided that they would like to take a closer look at the role of alcohol consumption in spreading the corona virus and contracting COVID-19. The theme of the 2021 report is, therefore, the effect of alcohol on the immune system and on transmission of the virus, given the effect of alcohol on human behaviour. The report also examines the ways in which the effects of the pandemic – in terms of anxiety, social isolation, unemployment, etc., – have affected alcohol consumption and the ways in which the alcohol industry and the world’s governments have responded to these challenges.
As the pandemic is still ongoing and the situation is changing rapidly, the research group has been obliged to adjust its choice of method and sources accordingly. The report is therefore different in focus from previous ones. Rather than focusing on critiquing scientific evidence to improve our understanding of a relatively established topic, the researchers took a broad scan of different information sources in order to highlight and contextualize areas where concerns may only just now be emerging.