The BBC quoted Iranian media reports on Tuesday that 36 people have died of alcohol poisoning in the city of Ahvaz and another 270 have been hospitalized because they believed a rumor that said drinking alcohol would kill coronavirus.
An Iranian doctor explained that the patients were poisoned by drinking “fake alcohol,” which the BBC took to mean “either local moonshine or methanol.” Seven people have been arrested for selling the dangerous beverages.
USA Today cited later Iranian reports that the death toll from alcohol poisoning stands at 44 across the country. Moonshine has killed more people than the coronavirus in Khuzestan province, where Ahvaz is located.
Drinking alcohol is illegal in Iran, which might have helped the purported “cure” sound plausible to Iranians wondering why their country has been hit so hard by the epidemic. According to the Iranian health industry, the cocktail of choice involves dangerous methanol mixed with bleach.
The New York Post noted that France was obliged last weekend to advise its citizens that cocaine “does NOT protect against COVID19” either. Conversely, a surprising number of Americans apparently think the coronavirus has something to do with Corona brand beer.
The medical community of India in January had a heated dispute with practitioners of traditional spiritual and herbal medicine over claims that homeopathic treatments could cure the coronavirus. India’s ministry of alternative medicine backed away from its more extravagant claims and stated it would not offer “treatment advice” for coronavirus patients.