Mike Sonko, Governor of Nairobi, Kenya, has taken some heat recently after making the decision to include alcohol in care packages for coronavirus, according to Complex.
“We will have some small bottles of Hennessy in the food packs that we will be giving to our people," said Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.
The COVID-19 care packages come with traditional Kenyan food staples but will also feature a few bottles of Hennessy, the famous cognac. Governor Sonko confirmed its inclusion on Tuesday, in a press conference, referring to the cognac as 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,” said Sonko.
The notion that alcohol is good for fighting COVID-19 is the opposite message that the WHO has been issuing. The WHO has even recommended that people limit their alcohol intake for the duration of the pandemic. Alcohol can weaken the immune system, thus making one more susceptible to contracting the virus.
This contrasting advice of the WHO prompted a media backlash. However Governor Sonko is no stranger to controversy, he was relieved of certain national government responsibilities last year, after being arrested on charges of corruption.
The Hennessy brand is also trying to distance themselves from Sonko's endorsement. The cognac maker told Nairobi News. “Hennessy would like to stress that the consumption of our brand or any other alcoholic beverage does not protect against the virus.”
In addition to not drinking alcohol, health experts advise against smoking tobacco, cannabis and vaping. All of these consumptions can lead to problematic health conditions. Despite this information, alcohol sales have gone up 55 percent in the Unites States, since March alone.