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And that would come at a cost of £5.2billion to the NHS. A study commissioned by NHS England found that while lighter drinkers cut consumption at home during the pandemic, heavier drinkers drank more.
And when the pubs reopened, they returned to the boozer – but kept their home habit. University of Sheffield researchers said that in a best-case scenario – where all drinkers this year return to their 2019 levels of drinking – there would still be an extra 42,677 hospital admissions and 1,830 deaths over 20 years due to alcohol.
In a worst-case scenario, this would rise to 972,382 extra hospital admissions and 25,192 deaths.
Colin Angus, who led the study, said: “The pandemic’s impact on our drinking behaviour is likely to cast a long shadow on our health.”
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