“They said that [alcohol] should be more available everywhere, to be more ‘modern’. But they never said anything about the 93,000 we had to bury,” said US campaign Alcohol Justice.
The corona pandemic is the likely cause of the sudden increase, with lockdown conditions pushing many heavier drinkers into higher levels of home drinking with less supervision and support.
The US figures are “concerning”, said Sadie Boniface, head of the UK’s Institute for Alcohol Studies, noting that a 21% rise in deaths from alcoholic liver disease makes up a large proportion of the increased toll.
The provisional figures suggest the US corona alcohol-induced death toll is set to be lower this year than last, but still on course to be 14% higher than in 2019.
The US rise in alcohol deaths during 2020 is comparable to that of the UK, where alcohol-specific deaths rose 19%. Germany seems to have fared better, with a 5% rise.
The CDC expects to release firmer US figures next week. ■