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People hoard essentials as coronavirus fears rise, but panic buying isn’t necessary: experts

Click to play video 'Photos of people hoarding goods amid COVID-19 outbreak go viral on Twitter' Photos of people hoarding goods amid COVID-19 outbreak go viral on Twitter
WATCH: Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic, people all over the world have started hoarding food, hand sanitizer and toilet paper over fears of being isolated for a couple weeks – Mar 13, 2020

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.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Long lines seen in Ontario grocery stores as locals stock up on supplies in case of COVID-19 quarantine' Coronavirus outbreak: Long lines seen in Ontario grocery stores as locals stock up on supplies in case of COVID-19 quarantine
Coronavirus outbreak: Long lines seen in Ontario grocery stores as locals stock up on supplies in case of COVID-19 quarantine – Mar 13, 2020

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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READ MORE: Yes, you should have a coronavirus emergency kit. Here’s what to include

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.
Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Panic buying causes toilet paper shortage at Costco store in Georgia' Coronavirus outbreak: Panic buying causes toilet paper shortage at Costco store in Georgia
Coronavirus outbreak: Panic buying causes toilet paper shortage at Costco store in Georgia – Mar 14, 2020
“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.”

READ MORE: Panic over coronavirus is ‘very human,’ but experts say the risk is low

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.
A Costco location in Ajax, Ont., was full of customers, with lines stretching almost the entire length of the store.
A Costco location in Ajax, Ont., was full of customers, with lines stretching almost the entire length of the store. Global News

In New York City, people are buying pasta in massive quantities — except lasagna noodles, for some reason.

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A Trader Joe’s location in Los Angeles is completely barren, leaving little food for those who didn’t make it in during the first-wave panic-purchase rush.

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.

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A grocery store in Guelph, Ont., is seeing checkout lineups that stretch around the perimeter of the store as well as empty shelves where water once was.

Water and toilet paper shelves are barren in one Guelph, Ont., grocery store.
Water and toilet paper shelves are barren in one Guelph, Ont., grocery store. Global News
Checkout lineups stretched around the perimeter of a Guelph, Ont., grocery store.
Checkout lineups stretched around the perimeter of a Guelph, Ont., grocery store. Global News

A Toronto Loblaws located on Lakeshore Boulevard had only a few items left on the shelves and a ton of Easter candy.

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A Loblaws location on Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto had empty freezer and meat sections.
A Loblaws location on Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto had empty freezer and meat sections. Global News
Canned goods were nearly all gone at a Lakeshore Boulevard Loblaws location in Toronto.
Canned goods were nearly all gone at a Lakeshore Boulevard Loblaws location in Toronto. Global News

Shelves are totally empty in certain stores in Germany.

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Fresh eggs, dairy and vegetables appear to be moving quickly in Denmark, while beer and toilet paper remain in stock.

Grocery stores in the European country had lines starting before the sun even rose on March 11.

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A social media user from the Philippines shared a photo from a local grocery store rationing soap and hand sanitizer.

One Twitter user pointed out that the elderly, who may not be able to head to grocery stores, will be the ones who suffer.

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Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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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.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

Visit full COVID-19 coverage on Global News.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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Click to play video 'Major events cancelled because of COVID-19' Major events cancelled because of COVID-19
Major events cancelled because of COVID-19 – Mar 13, 2020