Out of the hundreds of funny coronavirus memes pinging their way round Whatsapp right now there’s one of a woman in pyjamas and eye mask. She’s shouting at a runner passing her house through her window: ‘What are you doing out there? Running? Why? Oh because you like it?’ Taking a big glug of wine she shakes her head incredulously… ‘I mean really, it’s 7 o’clock in the morning!
Well, that woman is me right now. In the last month I have gone from a two-nights-a-week drinker to a nearly-every-night-a-week drinker. Life has been so stressful and uncertain; news so horrific, I’ve needed a glass of wine just to take the edge off.
Of course I’m not alone. A recent survey of more than 2,000 adults, for the charity Alcohol Change UK, suggested that one in five – equating to 8.6 million of us – have been drinking more since lockdown. According to consumer analysts Kantar, alcohol sales in supermarkets and corner shops jumped by nearly a quarter in March.
Given what is going on in the country right now, these findings are not surprising. What is surprising however, is that the same survey found that an astonishing one in three (14 million) have been taking steps to manage or stop drinking during the crisis. A small but significant proportion (6%) said they had stopped drinking entirely.
Good for them, I say – the dangers of alcohol over-consumption and the implications on our health are absolutely no laughing matter.
But the ones who have stopped entirely? I mean, sorry, but who are these people? Are they, if my suspicions are correct, the ones using this lockdown to go on one big health kick? That 7am jogger the meme lady is shouting at?