More than 300 people have died and another 1,000 have been sickened after drinking methanol in Iran under the guise that it can cure or protect them against the CCP virus, according to Iranian state media.
An Iranian doctor associated with the country’s Health Ministry told The Associated Press that he believes that far more have died, giving a death toll of around 480 while nearly 3,000 people have been sickened.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.
“Other countries have only one problem, which is the new coronavirus pandemic,” said Dr. Hossein Hassanian, an adviser to Iran’s Health Ministry. “We have to both cure the people with the alcohol poisoning and also fight the coronavirus.”
Alcohol is officially banned in Iran, leading to smugglers to acquire ethanol, which is used for cleaning wounds, and methanol, which is used in antifreeze and industrial products. Both are toxic.
“Unfortunately in some provinces, including Khuzestan and Fars, deaths from drinking methanol has exceeded the number of deaths from the new coronavirus,” Hassanian told AP.
Methanol poisoning can cause organ and brain damage as well as nausea, blindness, and even a coma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Early on after methanol exposure, there may be a relative absence of adverse health effects. This does not imply insignificant toxicity. Methanol toxicity worsens as the degree of metabolic acidosis increases, and thus, becomes more severe as the time between exposure and treatment increases,” the health agency warns on its website
There have been rumors and false social media posts shared among Iranians about drinking industrial alcohol during the pandemic, officials said.
“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 reports earlier this month.
The deputy prosecutor of Alborz, Mohammad Aghayari, said at the time that about two-dozen people who died drank methanol after they were “misled by content online, thinking they were fighting coronavirus and curing it.”