Substances, Socializing, and COVID
Due to the high transmission rates of community spread of COVID-19, there is no risk-free way to gather socially at this time. A large percentage of infections are transmitted through asymptomatic spread, by those infected with COVID-19 who display no symptoms. For the most up-to-date guidance on what activities are safe to do in person once fully vaccinated, follow the CDC guidelines.
Drinking Alcohol and COVID-19 Facts
- Drinking alcohol does not protect you from COVID-19.
- Alcohol alters your thoughts, judgment, and decision-making behavior. This can make it harder to adhere to safer gathering practices like wearing a mask and social distancing.
- It is also important to never share a cup or drink from the same container as another person as this directly exposes you to their germs through any residual saliva.
- Drinking alcohol weakens your body’s ability to fight infections, increasing the risk of complications, and making it harder to get better if you are sick.
- Looking Ahead: Drinking alcohol after getting a coronavirus vaccine can significantly blunt the immune response and potentially render the vaccine ineffective.
- Alcohol use can increase the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome and pneumonia, which are sometimes associated with COVID-19.
- These harm reduction tips may or may not be relevant in some cases, due to what the current Community Standards regulations are: If people choose to gather, there are steps you can take to attempt to lower the spread of COVID-19 including: limiting gathering sizes, gathering outdoors, ensuring adequate ventilation, getting vaccinated as soon as possible, wearing a mask, social distancing, properly washing hands, and staying home when you are feeling sick, and/or need to self-isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test or quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19.
- Should you choose to drink alcohol, adhere to low-risk limits and harm-reducing behaviors.
Other Drugs and COVID-19 Facts
- Smoking/vaping substances like tobacco and cannabis can pose an even greater risk to a person's health due to the nature of COVID-19 being a respiratory illness, potentially exacerbating the likelihood of contracting the virus and the severity of the illness.
- Sharing of any smoking/vaping device (cigarettes, joints, blunts, cigars, pipes, bowls, bongs, rigs, hookah, vape pens, mods) increases the likelihood of exposure due to coming into contact with another person's saliva and respiratory droplets.
- Using any substance that alters your perception makes it harder to adhere to harm reduction practices like wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing. Strongly consider limiting or abstaining from using substances for the duration of this pandemic.
While the idea of a small social pod or bubble during this time may sound like a simple solution to safely socialize and limiting exposure, properly executing one relies upon mutual exclusivity and strict agreed-upon rules by EVERY member of the pod.
- Pods/Bubble are NOT risk-free.
- Are easily penetrable.
- Require discipline and accountability.
Article - Sorry to Burst Your Quarantine Bubble
YouTube - How We Made Our Quarantine Pod
- For more local details, you can find comprehensive statewide information on the State of Illinois Coronavirus Response Webpage at https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/
- To learn more about the myths and facts about alcohol use and COVID-19, read the World Health Organization’s fact sheet. It also contains useful tips for people struggling with alcohol use and isolation during COVID-19.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has information and resources related to substance use and COVID-19.