As reports confirmed that there are now 103 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the U.S., frightened shoppers across the country went into "panic buying" mode. Stores ran out of stock as buyers hoarded food and medical supplies. Over the weekend, various supplies flew off of store shelves as health officials confirmed that the first two patients in the country died because of coronavirus in Washington state.
Citizens started panic buying supplies once health authorities cautioned that the public must start preparing for "domestic acceleration of the virus."
Over the weekend, videos showing shoppers in a frenzy to hoard bottled water, disinfectant wipes, sanitizer and toilet paper popped up all over social media. The shoppers were spotted from California to New York.
Other videos showed people lining up outside supermarkets in Brooklyn on Monday morning, the same day New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed details about the state's first confirmed case. Cuomo added that Brooklyn would be testing for community spread since there is a chance that the disease could soon spread through the city. He revealed that the first coronavirus patient in New York was a healthcare worker in Manhattan, who is now isolated.
A statement from Cuomo's office reported that the unidentified woman, who is in her late 30s, was infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19) while traveling in Iran. To date, 91 patients in America have been confirmed to have coronavirus, following one case reported in Rhode Island and a fifth "unknown" origin case confirmed in Chicago on Sunday.
Concerned citizens have also been posting photos of store and pharmacy shelves that were emptied after shoppers hoarded supplies and medication. Some Walgreens stores in southern California have run out of cold and flu medications, cough medicines, masks, thermometers and vaporizers. Meanwhile, buyers in Hawaii were hoarding flatbeds of bottled water, canned goods, paper towels and toilet paper from Costo. During the weekend, photos of empty shelves at grocery stores in New York were also posted online. (Related: Costco runs out of “emergency food kits” following coronavirus outbreak.)
On February 29, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams urged the public to stop hoarding face masks. Adams explained that a shortage could put communities at risk if medical facilities ran out of face masks. He added that "everyday preventive actions," like resting at home if you are sick and thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water, were the best ways to protect yourself and the community. These habits would help slow the spread of respiratory illnesses like coronavirus (COVID-19).
Before SHTF, the last thing you need to do is join hoarders running to the nearest store. Take a deep breath, get a piece of paper and a pen, and list down the following items that you need at home before disaster strikes in your neighborhood.
Proper hygiene and sanitation are important, especially when dealing with an infectious disease like the coronavirus. Get cleaning and sanitation supplies such as:
If you or a family member gets sick, you'll need cleaning products that will kill 99 percent or more of viruses and bacteria. Should an outbreak occur in your area, regularly wipe commonly touched surfaces like drawer pulls, doorknobs, light switches and the refrigerator handle several times daily.
The items below include supplies that you need to strengthen your immunity, along with some medicine cabinet basics.
When in doubt, stock up on things that will keep you healthy before you get sick. You'll also need supplies that will help you recover once you do get sick. Prep a first aid kit, along with the supplies necessary to treat existing medical issues among your family members.
Stay calm and plan ahead. Don't hoard supplies without figuring out what items you actually need in your survival stockpile.