A Kenyan governor is facing backlash after including alcohol in COVID-19 care packages.
In addition to traditional food staples, Nairobi Gov. Mike Sonko also sent a few small bottles of the popular cognac, Hennessy in the packages.
Sonko confirmed the inclusion during a media briefing on Tuesday, according to CNN.
He rationalized the inclusion by saying the alcohol is a “throat sanitizer.”
“I think from the research conducted by the World Health Organization and various organizations, it has been believed that alcohol plays a major role in killing the coronavirus,” Sonko said in a video.
“We will have some small bottles of Hennessy in the food packs that we will be giving to our people…” – Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko
However, the WHO has said that alcohol isn’t a safeguard against coronavirus and actually recommends that people reduce drinking habits.
The WHO explained that alcohol can hamper the immune system, making people more susceptible to catching the virus.
Sonko isn’t unfamiliar with controversy.
Last year, the governor was arrested on corruption charges and was forced to abandon some of his responsibilities to the national government.
Hennessy has also rejected any of Sonko’s claims that alcohol can protect someone from getting the virus. “Hennessy would like to stress that the consumption of our brand or any other alcoholic beverage does not protect against the virus,” the company told Nairobi News.
Health experts also don’t recommend smoking weed, tobacco, or vaping, as all of these can either make one more vulnerable to coronavirus or lead to further complications.