http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/27-die-in-iran-from-alcohol-poisoning-trying-to-prevent-covid-19/article/568522

27 die in Iran from alcohol poisoning trying to prevent COVID-19

Posted Mar 10, 2020 by Karen Graham
At least 27 people have died from alcohol poisoning in the Khuzestan and Alborz provinces of Iran trying to prevent infection an of the coronavirus, Iranian news agencies reported on Monday.
Medical staff distribute information sheets to Iraqi passengers returning from Iran at Najaf Interna...
Medical staff distribute information sheets to Iraqi passengers returning from Iran at Najaf International Airport
Haidar HAMDANI, AFP
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran, rumors and unscientific treatments on how to fight the virus have spread on social media. Among them was a rumor that drinking alcohol could protect you from getting the virus.
“Some of the citizens of Ahwaz had heard that drinking alcohol could help them fight the coronavirus, so they used it as a preventive measure,” said Ali Ehsanpour, spokesman of Ahwaz University of Medical Sciences, according to the Mehr News Agency, according to ABC News.
In all, there were 218 people admitted to the hospital. Of those who survived, one patient is now blind while several others are in critical condition. The drinking of alcohol is permitted in Iran only for some non-Muslim religious minorities. However, industrial alcohols, like ethanol and methanol intended for use in sanitation can be bought.
Mohammad Aghayari, the deputy prosecutor of Alborz, told the IRNA news agency that the dead had been “misled by content online, thinking they were fighting coronavirus and curing it.”
Iran has been the hardest hit of the countries in the Middle East. The coronavirus has infected 7, 161 people and caused the death of 237 people, while 2,394 have recovered, as of Monday, a health ministry spokesman said.
Bloomberg is reporting that Iran faces some daunting problems in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. There is a shortage of sanitizers and preventive gear, particularly for medical workers across the country. If we add domestic mismanagement and U.S. sanctions into the mix, it looks like the country's health care system is paralyzed.