This post is by Bernie Carr,
Just a quick post today, as I wanted to share reports that stores in some areas are being emptied due to panic buying by customers fearing supply disruptions due to the coronavirus.
What is causing panic buying?
A lot happened this week with regards to the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. Here are some of the highlights:
- A CDC official said that “Disruption in everyday life may be severe.”
- Health officials in California announced that a second patient has contracted COVID-19 via “community spread,” that is, the patient has never traveled to China and has had no known contact with anyone infected with the disease.
- The stock market ended the week on a downward slide, said to be its worst week since October 2008 due to fears that coronavirus will disrupt supply chains and the global economy will suffer.
Where is this happening?
According to khon2.com, shelves at Costco in Iwilei, Hawaii were quickly being emptied: people were buying up toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water and canned goods.
“In California, some Walgreens stores had been completely depleted of cough medicines, cold and flue medications, vaporizers, masks and thermometers.
A supermarket aisle in Virginia had been stripped of non-perishables like pasta.”
People from various areas in the country have been posting images of empty store shelves on social media.
We have already seen N-95 face masks have already sold out in many online as well as brick and mortar stores.
According to Fox Business:
Some analysts are worried whether stores like Walmart or Target can maintain their stock.
“Wells Fargo analysts told MarketWatch that grocery store shelves could fully be emptied by mid-April. The analysts also said that bigger chains including Target and Walmart are at higher risk.
“It’s worth noting that big-box players like Target and Walmart could be the first to experience out-of-stock issues, as they are more heavily dependent on a shorter-lead-time replenishment model,” Wells Fargo said, according to MarketWatch.”
Continue to prepare but don’t panic
The worst thing you can do is to panic. That is because if you are in a panic mode, you may not make rational decisions. You may overspend on items and possibly not make the best choices.
“CDC Director Robert Redfield told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Wednesday that the risk of contracting the coronavirus in the United States remains low, but warned that the country will most likely see more cases as the outbreak spreads globally.”
In a Foxnews video, a coronavirus doctor maintained “It’s not Ebola, do not panic.”
Thankfully, the panic buying frenzy described in some areas is not occurring everywhere. I’ve been to a grocery store the day before a hurricane was scheduled to hit and have witnessed desperate shoppers emptying shelves. I went to the store today, and there were no issues. The shelves were well-stocked and there were no unusual crowds. But things can change and that is why preparedness works.
Stay informed. Every day, new information emerges, and we all need to stay aware.
If your store shelves are emptying out, try another location in the next time. Or buy your supplies online.
Next week, we’ll take a look how the potential spread of the coronavirus may affect your finances.
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