Covid-19 isn’t kind to sufferers of certain medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart ­disease. And along with the pressures we are all under, we can add alcohol to that list.

The harm drink does to our health and finances usually reflects what’s going on in the country. In bad times, it gets worse.

A healthy economy needs a healthy nation, so recovery has to focus on both the economy and on the public’s health. It’s predicted alcoholic liver disease, already increasing before the Covid-19 crisis, will rise further when the pandemic is over.

A surge in the need for alcohol ­treatment will rise in parallel, say Ilora Finlay and Ian Gilmore in the BMJ.

Home alcohol sales have gone up by as much as 75% (stock photo)

The acute need to save lives from Covid-19 as we went into lockdown was clearly an unarguable priority over lesser health concerns. However, the lockdown brought its own pressures and problems for many people.

The closure of pubs and restaurants drove many to stock up with alcohol at home. This showed up early on, with alcohol being among the items that disappeared from supermarket shelves.

Sales soared. In the week to March 21 they were up 67%, as overall ­supermarket sales rose 43%.

Now, as the daily graphs at the Government press conferences show all aspects of Covid-19 are improving, it’s increasingly clear that we should be preparing for life as we come out of the pandemic, otherwise the harm done by alcohol could stretch into the future.

People particularly vulnerable are those on the brink of alcohol ­dependence during lockdown and beyond. For them, dependence can be triggered by job insecurity, difficult ­relationships and bereavement.

Drinking alcohol can also trigger domestic violence. Early in lockdown we saw a rise in calls to domestic violence charities.

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Research shows alcohol relates to domestic abuse, finding 25-50% of domestic abusers have been drinking at the time of the assault. Some studies put it at three-quarters.

In about 60% of police callouts for domestic incidents the accused person was under the influence of alcohol. The Home Office reported in 2016 that alcohol was involved in almost half of domestic killings.

It will be only after the pandemic ends that we can truly assess the impact of social isolation, job loss and financial meltdown on drinking.

Even in normal times, alcohol costs the NHS in excess of £3.5billion, and the wider economy at least £21billion each year.

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