Briones: Debunking myths

Publio J. Briones III

I HAVE to admit, my alcohol intake these past few days has risen because I heard that drinking spirits that are 80 proof and above, or containing 40 percent alcohol, can keep the 2019 novel coronavirus away.

Okay. So I have been drinking on a regular basis—meaning every day—for the last, well, three decades or so. When I was told that the practice might actually have some hidden benefit, I figured, finally, vindication.

All the advice to slow down or quit booze that I ignored, all the money that I wasted at bars, all the headaches that I had to nurse in my early days of imbibing, apparently, these were all worth it.

I mean, who would have thought that a nightcap before going to bed would actually protect me against a new coronavirus.

Of course, the World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines had to go ahead and ruin my moment. When it got wind of this--how should I call it-- “information,” it immediately issued a clarification.

“Alcohol should always be consumed in moderation and people who do not drink alcohol should not start drinking in an attempt to prevent the 2019-nCoV infection,” it said.

I knew it was too good to be true. But wait, the advisory doesn’t exactly say that alcohol cannot not prevent the virus, does it? It merely tells teetotalers not to change their habit.

In fact, when I checked the main website of WHO, there is no mention of alcohol in the context of this virus outbreak. None, whatsoever.

However, it does debunk some myths.

For example, the public need not worry about receiving packages from China since “coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as packages and letters.”

I’m using quotation marks to prove to you that I am not making this up. That’s a direct quote from the WHO website.

Oh, and there’s that bit about regularly rinsing the nose, which I find utterly disgusting. Who came up with that? Really. Listen up, people. Give your nasal cavities a break. A douche up the schnozzle won’t protect you from infection. At least, the WHO is saying there is no evidence that suggests it will.

Also, you can lay off the garlic. It might keep away vampires or potential kissing partners, but the WHO is again saying there is no evidence that it will protect you from the new coronavirus. Don’t get me wrong, garlic has antimicrobial properties but I don’t know about antiviral ones.

With that said, speculations abound, especially in this day and age when everyone is an expert. Just use common sense or cold water as chaser after a shot of rum.

Or not.