At least 70 people have died in Mexico since late April from consuming tainted alcohol purchased on the black market, the New York Times reports.
The deaths can be attributed to a number of factors, but the Mexican government declaring breweries to be a nonessential business in mid-April, coupled with parts of the country implementing laws against buying booze appears to be the culprit. In recent weeks, the reduction in production alone has caused a national beer shortage, leading people to seek out alternatives by any means necessary.
"It's possible to begin to speculate that with a smaller supply of regulated alcohol, there's a larger supply of unregulated alcohol," Gady Zabicky Sirot, director of the National Commission Against Addictions in Mexico, told the New York Times.
At least 20 people in the town of Chiconcuautla have died after drinking a concoction considered to be a cheap version of moonshine called "refino" during a gathering on Mother's Day. At least 28 people are dead in Jalisco from consuming a drink comparable to rum known as "El Chorrito." Investigators believe this beverage contained methanol, which is commonly used as antifreeze. There have been 35 deaths reported in Puebla and Morelos. The Mexican state of Yucatan reportedly has at least seven people dead.
The intention behind no longer allowing the purchase of alcohol was to curb the likelihood of people coming together for large gatherings, and increasing the possible spread of the coronavirus. The U.S. State Department has issued a travel advisory alerting Americans of recent reports of "individuals falling ill or blacking out after consuming unregulated alcohol."