As fears of the novel coronavirus continue to rise, people are hitting the stores to stock up on essentials like toilet paper, canned food, soap and hand sanitizer.
Around the world and at home in Canada, the panic has left stores completely out of stock on these items, leading to supply chain disruptions and leaving some empty-handed.
Coronavirus outbreak: Long lines seen in Ontario grocery stores as locals stock up on supplies in case of COVID-19 quarantine
Some have taken to social media and posted photos of empty shelves, picked-over packages of pasta and other items completely removed in big-name grocery stores like Walmart, Costco and Trader Joe’s.
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While panic is a “very human” response, Steven Hoffman, director of the Global Strategy Lab, previously told Global News, it’s neither helpful nor proportionate to the current risk level.
Although Health Canada has recommended people build emergency kits — including items like water, non-perishable foods and prescription medication — they’ve also said stockpiling essentials in bulk isn’t necessary right now.
Coronavirus outbreak: Panic buying causes toilet paper shortage at Costco store in Georgia
“It is easier on the supply chain if people gradually build up their household stores instead of making large-scale purchases all at once,” reads the site. “To do this, you can add a few extra items to your grocery cart every time you shop.”Not heeding these universal warnings, many have gone ahead and stockpiled anyways.A Costco location in Ajax, Ont., saw line ups stretching nearly the entire length of the store.
In New York City, people are buying pasta in massive quantities — except lasagna noodles, for some reason.
all over nyc, coronavirus preppers are hoarding pasta but leaving behind lasagna! poor lasagna. pro tip: if u break it up into smaller pieces it just becomes janky pappardelle pic.twitter.com/NgXajHhVNj
One L.A. resident had a sense of humour about an interesting typo made at a local Costco. The typo means the store’s next shipment of toilet paper isn’t coming for another 23,000 years, the Twitter user wrote.
A social media user from the Philippines shared a photo from a local grocery store rationing soap and hand sanitizer.
Amidst this hoarding and panic buying i hope people dont vent out their frustration to our fellow fist line workers. They dont wanna go out as much as you do but they have to if they want have food on the table
Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.