Coronavirus-worried shoppers empty California, Oregon grocery shelves

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Coronavirus-worried shoppers empty California, Oregon grocery shelves

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People line up outside the Costco store on UTSA Boulevard as they wait for it to open. Many area stores are still seeing runs on things toilet paper and hand sanitizer as confirmed COVID-19 cases increase in Bexar County.

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Shoppers line up in a curving snaking line at the Olmos Park H-E-B, on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

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David Guerra, center, carries a bag of food to a woman in a wheelchair as she receives hand sanitizer from Judy Bittick, left, Ministry Leader, as others line up for free meal.

More than 100 homeless individuals and some on limited income received help from Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes ministries, on March 19. The city’s regular shelters have had to turn away new clients for nearly two weeks because they’re filled to capacity.

But city officials are working to rent a hotel before the end of April to house up to 400 homeless individuals at risk of contracting the deadly novel coronavirus.

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Judy Bittick, left, from Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes Ministries, pumps out hand sanitizer to an individual in line for food. Over 100 homeless individuals and some on limited income are fed by Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes ministries, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Eduardo Garcia Park.

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David Guerra, center, carries a bag of food to a man as Judy Bittick, left, Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes Ministry Leader, greets him. Over 100 homeless individuals and some on limited income, are fed by Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes ministries, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Eduardo Garcia Park.

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David Guerra, left, a community volunteer with Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes Ministries hands a meal to Carlos Hernandez who is homeless. Over 100 homeless individuals and some on limited income are fed by Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes ministries, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Eduardo Garcia Park.

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Judy Bittick, right, from Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes Ministries, speaks with a homeless individual in line for food at Eduardo Garcia Park. More than 100 people turned out on March 19. The city of San Antonio plans to set up food hubs to help feed the homeless; all of the local shelters are now full and aren’t accepting new clients.

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Judy Bittick, left, from Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes Ministries, hands out a meal to an individual in line for food. Over 100 homeless individuals and some on limited income are fed by Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes ministries, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Eduardo Garcia Park.

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Sabrina Button, left, and Quinn Singleton enjoy a lunch hand out as other wait in line to receive theirs. Over 100 homeless individuals and some on limited income are fed by Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes ministries, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Eduardo Garcia Park.

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Three homeless men carry the lunches they received from Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes Ministries, as they walk towards Haven for Hope. Over 100 homeless individuals and some on limited income were fed by Northside Church of Christ Loaves and Fishes ministries, on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at Eduardo Garcia Park.

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An H-E-B employee, right, monitors shoppers as they form a curving, snaking line at the H-E-B store in Olmos Park. Some people are arriving hours before grocery stores open.

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Shoppers line up in a curving snaking line at the Olmos Park H-E-B, aroun 7 A.M. on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

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Many people buy items that would prepare them for a natural disaster — bottled water, canned goods and toilet paper.

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Shoppers line up in a curving snaking line at the Olmos Park H-E-B, on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

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Shoppers line up in a curving snaking line at the Olmos Park H-E-B, on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

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Shoppers line up in a curving snaking line at the Olmos Park H-E-B, on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

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A shopper loads her groceries in her car after buying early at the H-E-B store on Oblate Drive.

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It was 6:48 a.m., and already 53 people were standing in line. The H-E-B on San Antonio’s East Side wouldn’t open until 8. But minute by minute, the line grew until it reached the length of a couple of city blocks.

Many of the shoppers scrolled through their phones to pass the time. Some couples split up, each grabbing a cart so they could take home double the store’s purchasing limits.

Four cartons of eggs instead of two. Eight boxes of pasta instead of four. Two packages of what appears to be the most coveted item of all: multi-pack toilet paper.

This is the new normal for many grocery stores across San Antonio — stark evidence of a panic spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas’s elected leaders and grocery executives have said repeatedly that there’s no need to race to stores and stockpile goods. There is no shortage of food, they’ve said. No reason to buy mass quantities of toilet paper. Stores will be stocked, as long as people limit themselves to buying what they need.

Unpersuaded, anxious shoppers have continued to empty the shelves of toilet paper, bottled water and canned foods faster than employees can restock. The frenzy has left families unable to find milk, eggs, meat, baby formula, diapers and other staples unless they arrive hours before stores open.

“We’re milk, coffee, eggs, bread,” said Jewel Gutierrez, who went to the H-E-B at North Foster Road and FM 78 to shop for her husband and her 75-year-old mother, both of whom have compromised immune systems. “When I run coffee, that’s it — we got to call in the troops.”

As the sun rose over San Antonio, the line stretched across the front of the grocery store and past an empty lot, then snaked around the corner. Gutierrez was 80th about 150 people.

She left her empty shopping cart in line to mark her place while she waited 15 yards away, sitting cross-legged in the grass at the center of the empty lot.

“People should not be standing that close together,” she said.

On the grass beside her sat a box of black rubber gloves and a plastic bin containing a pink respirator mask. She’d bought them weeks ago, she said, when she stockpiled toilet paper, water, disinfectants and other products.

“My mom is one of those who are super-high-risk,” she added. “I can’t risk getting her sick.”

‘Shop normally’

As the coronavirus began to spread across the U.S., Americans first began hoarding hand sanitizer, gloves and surgical masks. Some sold the products at a profit, sparking crackdowns on price-gouging.

More recently, many people have shifted to purchasing items that would prepare them for a natural disaster — bottled water, canned goods and toilet paper.

“This isn’t a hurricane or another natural disaster where … you may want to have a supply in case there’s a disruption in city services. That’s not the case here,” said Julie Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for H-E-B. “Those city services as well as our grocery stores all continue planning to operate during this time.”

The grocery store chain has scrambled to hire temporary employees to keep up with the demand. It also shortened its operating hours, now 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to allow more time for workers to restock shelves.

But even with 1,300 trucks racing to deliver goods, Texans continue to buy things faster than H-E-B can replace them, Bedingfield said.

“If our customers would shop normally, we wouldn’t see any disruptions in the items on shelves,” she said.

Once people start panic buying, it’s hard to convince them to stop, say experts in consumer behavior. Since few if any Americans have experienced a pandemic of this scale, it’s hard for some to trust the assurances of government officials and retailers.

“Everyone is panic buying, not just all over the country, but basically all over the world,” said Utpal Dholakia, a professor of marketing at Rice University who studies consumer behavior. “That makes the sense of urgency even more — are all these suppliers going to be able to keep up with the demand?”

Texans who are worried about being able to provide food, water and other necessities for their families aren’t making rational decisions, said Dholakia. Rather than try to find deals and stick to their normal routines, shoppers on panic sprees scoop up as much as they can, including items they might not even use.

They generally spend more, and some might even rack up credit card debt, harming their financial health.

‘There’s nothing here’

In San Antonio, that sense of panic has caused customers to clear the shelves of large grocery stores within hours of opening. Smaller, locally-owned businesses, however, have been relatively unscathed.

As crowds swelled at Costco and H-E-B on Thursday morning, Seoul Asian Market & Cafe, near Fort Sam Houston, still had stocks of fresh cabbage, a variety of mushrooms, boxes of sweet potatoes and shelves full of noodles and curry.

Although some frozen and dry items had been sold out, the store’s grain aisle was largely untouched, with multiple sizes of bags of white, brown and wild rice. Some San Antonians had begun to take notice — at least one shopper purchased an industrial-sized bag of rice and nothing else.

The night before at an H-E-B three miles awayon East Basse Road, shoppers arrived to find some aisles completely bare.

“There’s nothing here,” one woman said while talking on her phone as she walked through the rice aisle. “Here, I’m lying — there’s a bag of Arroz Bomba rice for $9.98. Dude.”

Most frozen vegetables were gone. Deli meats were almost nowhere to be found. A few bags of shredded cheese remained; all sliced varieties had been cleared out.

Customers had stripped the shelves of feminine care products, diapers, pet food and Vitamin C supplements. Stocks of bath bombs, used to scent bathwater, were also absent, evidence that some shoppers were putting a priority on self-care in response to the pandemic.

“We’re not seeing pictures of people in hospital beds, so what evidence do we have that something is going on? Empty store shelves,” said Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. “That’s the thing we see, so then we get panicked about the empty store shelves.”

People may not want to feed the frenzy, Markman said, but it can be hard to resist when everyone else is doing it. Combine that with the anxiety produced by a crisis outside the experience of most Americans, and people end up with industrial supplies of toilet paper stashed in their garages.

“We may look back on it later and think, ‘Oh, that was a silly thing to do,’” Markman said. “But I don’t think anyone should feel guilty or ashamed of it — it’s a perfectly natural reaction.”

Shopping can give people some sense of control in a crisis, Markman said. But at some point, Texans will have to come to terms with the new normal: grocery stores and pharmacies will stay open, even if other businesses close, he said.

Until then, hundreds of San Antonians are flooding stores to search for the items their families need.

Tina Irvin arrived at a Costco store in Selma at 7:15 a.m. Thursday. She lives with her husband, daughter and elderly mother and mother-in-law, and they were about to run toilet paper. She’d searched other stores every day for nearly a week, to no avail.

She thought the store opened at 8 a.m. but soon realized opening time was 10. But her mistake was a blessing in disguise. She was sixth in line.

“It’s the only way to get toilet paper — toilet paper is gold,” Irvin said with a laugh.

After she’d waited two hours and 15 minutes, Costco employees announced they would open a little early. They hauled a whiteboard to the front of the store, where an employee had hand-written a list of items that were stock: hand sanitizer, bleach, paper towels and Lysol spray.

But there it was, in red ink: “Toilet Paper Limited Qty.”

Marina Starleaf Riker is an investigative reporter for the San Antonio Express-News with extensive experience covering affordable housing, inequality and disaster recovery. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | marina.riker@express-news.net | : @MarinaStarleaf

Источник: https://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/There-s-nothing-here-coronavirus-15144609.php

Coronavirus fears empty store shelves of toilet paper, bottled water, masks as shoppers stock up

Coronavirus-worried shoppers empty California, Oregon grocery shelves
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Northern Italy residents cleared the shelves at a supermarket amid fears around the coronavirus outbreak. USA TODAY

On Thursday afternoon when Ryan Ozawa hit the Iwilei Costco next door to his office in Hawaii, he ran straight into a long line of carts stretching the length of the store as shoppers waited for toilet paper and paper towels.

Costco employees were limiting shoppers to five packages of each and hand loading them into carts. As pallet after pallet was cleaned out, one shopper at the end of the line shouted out “The end of the line for the toilet paper and paper towels is right here.”

Ozawa had to give up and return Friday morning when the store opened to snag a stash of toilet paper and paper towels for himself and his co-workers. With so many of the state’s food and goods imported, panic buying is common whenever a hurricane or other emergency threatens Hawaii. 

Get coronavirus updates daily: Stay safe and informed with our new Coronavirus Watch newsletter. 

“Local health officials told us not to panic buy and not to freak out,” Ozawa, 45, communications director for tech firm Hawaii Information Service, said, “and that was enough to get us to go out and buy everything.”

Similar scenes have played out across the country and around the globe in recent days as consumers, heeding warnings from health officials, equipped themselves with basic necessities in case the coronavirus spreads to their community.

Shoppers reported stocking up on medications, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers, face masks, surgical gloves and pantry staples. Social media was filled with photos of shelves emptied of flats of bottled water.

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Coronavirus threat could empty shelves

More widespread shortages could hit retailers in the coming weeks, experts warn, which could drive up prices.

“Further delays in the restart of production could begin to result in out-of-stocks at U.S. shelves as early as mid-April,” Wells Fargo analysts wrote in a recent report.

Advice to consumers: If something is “mission critical” to your life, get it now, says Sam Polakoff, president and CEO at Nexterus Inc., which sources supplies for companies. 

“If the price hasn’t increased yet, it probably will soon,” he said. “ly, prices will go up 25 to 30% temporarily.”

Retailers are wrestling with shortages as shoppers strip shelves, pushing suppliers to help them restock quickly. CVS said in a statement to USA TODAY that it is seeing increased demand for hand sanitizer and face masks but no “significant shortage” of disinfectant wipes and sprays.

Shortages won't be limited to basic necessities. Electronics, apparel and housewares, all of which are reliant on China, may also be affected, said Neil Saunders, managing director of Global Data, a retail consultancy.

If the outbreak is extensive and lasts into the second half of 2020, there could be shortages of apparel and back to school products. “We believe this could put the back to school season at risk for many U.S. based retailers,” Cowen analysts said in a report.

Coronavirus health fears gripped the U.S. as the nation's second case of unexplained coronavirus – in which a person emerges with the infection with no obvious indication of how the virus was transmitted – was reported in California Friday. Oregon officials also announced that the state has identified its first presumed case of the virus. 

The number of those sickened by the virus stood at 85,176 Friday. The death count has reached 2,919, most of them in China.

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Preparing for coronavirus threat: Stocking up on food

West Texas mom Sara Carpenter was worried enough about potential shortages to stockpile food and other supplies for her family.

Coronavirus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing and pneumonia. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

“It’s hard to decipher what’s fact and what’s fiction between the politics, the paranoid and the media, but there’s too many potential red flags to not take the steps to prepare for the worst,” said Carpenter, who declined to say where in Texas she lives fear of becoming a target of thieves. “We have a 2-year-old daughter and the biggest concern would be how this virus would affect her.”

So far N95 masks are the only necessity Carpenter has noticed in low supply locally but she's filling up her cart in case panic buying spreads.

“We need to be properly prepared for that and have what we need to survive at home until shelves are full again,” she said.

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Are stores near you selling supplies over coronavirus fears?

If you've noticed stores selling supplies and/or have thoughts about preparing for the coronavirus, fill out this form to share your thoughts with USA TODAY.

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A previous version of this video incorrectly stated how many people the 1918 Spanish influenza killed. USA TODAY

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/02/28/coronavirus-2020-preparation-more-supply-shortages-expected/4903322002/

Источник: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/02/28/coronavirus-2020-preparation-more-supply-shortages-expected/4903322002/

Coronavirus fears see mask, hand sanitizer, water, toilet paper shortages at Costco, Walmart and Target

Coronavirus-worried shoppers empty California, Oregon grocery shelves

Fears over the COVID-19 virus have seen home supplies, including face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, water, toilet paper and medication, run out at major retailers and local stores across the country.

Shoppers have been posting images of empty shelves on social media at various retail chains, including Costco, Walmart, Target and Home Depot. Consumers have reported shortages in California, Washington, Minnesota, Hawaii, and New York.

The deadly virus, which was first identified in Wuhan city in the Hubei province of China, has infected more than 89,000 people globally, around 80,000 of which are in China, while 86 have been confirmed in the U.S., according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

According to the CDC, 44 cases in the U.S. were reported to be passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined at sea for around two weeks in Japan after a passenger from Hong Kong was found to have been infected. American evacuees from the ship who were infected were sent to hospitals in the areas surrounding the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California.

This past weekend saw the first two deaths from the virus in the U.S., both of which were reported in Washington state. On Saturday, an infected man in his 70s at a nursing facility near Seattle died, according to a statement by Public Health – Seattle & King County.

The first death in Washington, reported on Friday, was a man in his 50s, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Seattle and King County, said at a press conference on Saturday, CNN reports.

Both patients were treated at a hospital in Kirkland and reported to have had underlying health conditions. There are now 13 confirmed cases in Washington, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

The governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, declared a state of emergency on Saturday following the first reported death, instructing all “state agencies and departments to utilize state resources and do everything reasonably possible to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases,” the governor's office said in a statement.

“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state. Our state agency directors have been actively preparing since the nation's first case appeared in Snohomish County,” he added.

“Washingtonians can be assured we've taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our healthcare partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could ly be a world-wide pandemic,” the governor said.

A woman wears a face mask while purchasing bottles of rubbing alcohol at a Costco store in Alhambra, California on February 4, 2020. Getty Images

The U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned last week the spread of the virus was inevitable, noting “it's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, stated at a press briefing last week.

“We are asking the American public to work with us to prepare in the expectation that this could be bad,” she added.

The American Red Cross issued a statement on Thursday advising residents on ways to “be ready for any emergency” and “prepare in case this new coronavirus risk level increases in the U.S.”

“Have a supply of food staples and household supplies laundry detergent and bathroom items, and diapers if you have small children,” the organization said.

“Check to make sure you have at least a 30-day supply of your prescription medications, and have other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins,” it added.

Costco, Target, Walmart run water, toilet paper, hand sanitizers

The recent deaths and warnings from health authorities have caused a storm of panic across the country, including in Seattle, with locals scrambling to stock up on supplies in the event that they find themselves in lockdown due to the outbreak.

Speaking to Newsweek, a resident of Seattle, Jessica Seu, said: “It's Armageddon here. It's a bit crazy here. All the stores are sanitizers and [disinfectant] wipes and alcohol solution. Costco is toilet paper and paper towels. Schools are sending emails about possible closures if things get worse.

“I stocked up my fridge and freezer so I don't have to go out much. [My] kids do have school and after school activities almost every day and I'm concerned about that. Just praying for the best,” she said.

Several other residents in Washington have shared images and messages on social media noting the depletion of supplies at retailers including Target and Walmart, in addition to Costco.

“No hand sanitizer left at Walmart, Target or Walgreens today, and lines at least 20 deep at every register. Everyone's preparing for the worst case #coronavirus scenario here in #WA,” wrote @xsullengirlx

“People are seriously freaking out about the Corona virus. I've never seen Costco so busy. Even on black Friday or Christmas season. They're Kirkland cases of waters, toilet paper, meat in general and other things…” wrote @Jpuma55.

“Costco in Kirkland, WA. Reaction to news of first death to Coronavirus in the State. People in line waiting for shopping carts gathered by workers from the parking lot. Parking lot is full. People are buying out the store,” wrote @preznatalia.

“So it's crazy! In Washington state we went to Walmart to buy bleach and they were all stock. Same with the hand sanitizer! This coronavirus stuff is really starting to freak me out. Oh, but don't worry! Trump says they have this all under control. Lol right….” wrote @RochelleKnutso2.

“I stocked up weeks ago for this reason. The other day I was in Target to grab a few last-minute items and noted they were almost sold BLEACH! Meanwhile, in the rest of the USA…,” wrote @lianna_conda.

Suppliers in the Bay Area and other parts of California, where the first case of a community spread (where a person with no known connection to the virus is infected) was reported last week, are reporting a similar scenario.

In California, people are stocking up on essentials, due to fear of the coronavirus. The medication isles are empty here at Target in Pasadena, California ! pic..com/jkaI1ovzWr

— Bertha S Castro (@BerthaSCastro1) March 1, 2020

“No water at the Colma, Ca @Target. People are stocking up on water amid #coronavirus scare. #BayArea #California #Covid19usa #CoronaVirusUpdate @abc7newsbayarea,” wrote @agaliciadiaz_.

“Walmart and Target were sooo busy today in San Diego. Many items water, flu medications , hand sanitizers Sold out . Coronavirus-worried shoppers empty California, Oregon grocery shelves,” wrote @Todd_Michael_.

“In California, people are stocking up on essentials, due to fear of the coronavirus. The medication isles are empty here at Target in Pasadena, California !,” wrote @BerthaSCastro1.

“My local target. Ive never seen these shelves empty this. #coronavirus #California,” wrote @RidicMadness.

The panic spreads to Minnesota, New York, Hawaii, Washington D.C

Retailers in other states that have reported a few confirmed cases of the virus, such as New York and Minnesota, as well as those that have yet to report positive cases, such as in Hawaii and Washington D.C.

, have also been experiencing a supply shortage and surge in customers, with lines forming outside their shops. One Costco chain reported there were 800 people through its doors within 10 minutes of it opening.

“Madness at #Costco as people stock up for the #coronavirus. 800 people through the door in the first 10 minutes of opening.” @girlgone_crypto

“We are at #Costco. It's a madhouse. Every cart has survival essentials and the guy at guest services said every Costco in Hawaii is completely sold toilet paper. One guy is stocking up on margaritas and he's who I really want to have nearby when #coronavirus hits.” wrote @kldmills.

State health officials in Hawaii have warned residents to “stock up on all prescription medications and other basic household items food and cleaning products so you can care for yourself and your family at home if someone becomes ill. Supplies of these items may be affected in the event of a pandemic,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Long lines outside #Costco in #Brooklyn New York #USA” wrote @hereisdavidh.

“Brooklyn, NYC Costco is overrun with shoppers who presumably would to stock up incase they cannot leave their house due to the coronavirus. #COViD19,” wrote @coriiiiiiiiiii1.

“All water sold out Saturday morning, 11am, at Costco in Washington, D.C. Things are not alright. Something is really happening. #coronavirus,” wrote @addandtalk.

“Went to Walmart and more than half of the Lysol and Clorox products were gone… this shit is getting real #coronavirus,” wrote @Champagneanaaa.

“I'm at Walmart right now. The store is packed. The aisle with toilet paper and disinfectants is filled with employees restocking shelves. There's hardly anyone exiting the store without a pack of toilet paper. Seems everyone is preparing. #Coronavirus” wrote @SnoringVic.

Customers warned not to buy masks following mass shortages

Many have expressed concern over the supply of face masks running out, including the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome M. Adams, who said in a post Saturday on the official account of the U.S.

Surgeon General: “Seriously people.

STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can't get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!

They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!

https://t.co/UxZRwxxKL9

Источник: https://www.newsweek.com/coronavirus-fears-mask-hand-sanitizer-water-toilet-paper-shortages-costco-walmart-target-1489981

Costco crush: Water, toilet paper dwindle on coronavirus fears

Coronavirus-worried shoppers empty California, Oregon grocery shelves

Big-box stores throughout Southern California are grappling with dwindling supplies of bottled water, toilet paper, bleach and hand sanitizer as worried shoppers stock up amid news of the spreading coronavirus and local quarantines.

What began as a busy shopping weekend Feb. 29 spiraled into a scene more typical of storm preparations: empty shelves and carts teetering with bulk supplies at Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and local drugstores.

By Sunday, supplies were waning and stores from Ontario to south Orange County were rationing water and toilet paper. At Sam’s Club in Fullerton, the Member’s Mark store-brand water was sold out Monday after a “crazy weekend,” according to one employee.

  • Shoppers at the Sam’s Club in Fullerton walk past empty bays that once held cases of Member’s Mark bottled water.

    The membership club owned by Walmart sold its namesake water after rationing supplies over the weekend, according to one employee. All that remained Monday was a few cases of Arrowhead bottled water.

    Shoppers were busy stocking up on household supplies amid coronavirus headlines that could spur some residents to stay home. (Samantha Gowen/SCNG)

  • Signs hanging inside a Costco store in Cypress notified customers that they were supplies on Monday, March 2. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Normally water, toilet paper and paper towels fill this space at the Woodland Hills, CA. Costco on Monday, March 2, 2020. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Signs hanging inside Costco notify customers that they are supplies on March 2, 2020, in Cypress, CA.(Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Signs hanging inside Costco notify customers that they are supplies on March 2, 2020, in Cypress, CA. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Shoppers visit a Costco Wholesale in Tigard, Ore., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, after reports of Oregon’s first case of coronavirus was announced in the nearby Oregon city of Lake Oswego on Friday. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

  • Shoppers visit a Costco Wholesale in Tigard, Ore., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, after reports of Oregon’s first case of coronavirus was announced in the nearby Oregon city of Lake Oswego on Friday. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

A typically quiet shopping day, Monday wound up almost as hectic as the weekend as more shoppers lined up to buy their share.

“This is not normal,” a Sam’s Club employee said with a laugh.

News on Friday of 600 people quarantined in Orange County, plus burgeoning numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and California ly spooked residents into their buying binge.

Shelves ordinarily stocked full of hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol and bleach at a Target on East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena had gaping holes, while the store’s inventory of cold and flu medicine was virtually depleted.

Pasadena resident Julie Ward said she was stocking up before supplies ran out.

“I’m just re-stocking the medicine cabinet to make sure I have everything on hand in case we need to have it … and I’m going to use it at some point, anyway,” she said. “It’s just in case we get stuck in the house for two weeks.

A manager at Target on Arlington Avenue in Riverside said her store was dealing with an ongoing shortage of masks, hand sanitizers and cough medicine. Face masks have been selling fast over the last three weeks, she said.

Backfilling supplies

Will these big-box stores be able to replenish all of the merchandise that’s flying off the shelves?

It depends on the store, according to Burt Flickinger III, managing director for the retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group.

“Albertsons, Vons and Kroger, which owns Ralphs, have all invested extensively in having their own trucking fleets and local warehouses that are half a million to a million square feet in all of their major markets in California and across the country,” he said. “They have the working capital to re-supply their stores quickly.”

But Target, he said, will have a tougher time keeping up.

“Target has outsourced its distribution to third-party wholesalers which tend to be very lean on inventory,” he said. “When other competitors are increasing deliveries, it will be hard for Target to get extra deliveries on a weekly basis.”

When contacted Monday, Target declined to comment on how the coronavirus has affected its operations.

Costco also had resupply issues Monday. Shoppers at a store in Signal Hill circled an uncharacteristically barren aisle, exchanging confused glances — all the water was gone. A manager who declined to give his last name at the Lakewood Costco said it was chaotic at his store as well.

“It’s busier than Christmas,” he said. “Yesterday the lines were all the way to the alcohol section.”

Common sense

Is all the shopping overkill or appropriate?

Dr. Sean Nordt, chief medical officer and the Gavin Herbert Endowed Professor of Pharmacy at the Chapman University School of Pharmacy, said people should use common sense.

“We’re still in the flu season, so any precautions you might take for the flu we recommend you apply to this,” he said. “Frequent hand washing is good, and if you are sick don’t go to work or school. Stay at home, unless you are so symptomatic that you need to go to the emergency department.”

Nordt also advises people not to buy up masks in an effort to protect themselves from the virus.

“If you aren’t sick it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he said. “And there’s a shortage of masks. Hospital providers need those masks for people who are really sick.”

Nordt said Southland residents shouldn’t necessarily avoid public places, as the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has not declared the outbreak a pandemic.

“People have to make their own risk assessment regarding that,” he said. “I don’t know of any universities or workplaces that are closed. It’s pretty much business as usual.”

By the numbers …

The coronavirus outbreak has so far sickened more than 90,200 people, according to official counts.

At least 3,081 people have died, all but 169 in mainland China, the New York Times reported. Of the six reported U.S. deaths, four were residents at the Life Care Center nursing care facility in Kirkland, ironically the home of Costco.

Global health officials have sought to reassure the public that the virus remains a manageable threat.

“Containment is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

An economic threat

The virus may not be a pandemic, but its effect on U.S. markets is close. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that the world economy could contract this quarter for the first time since the international financial crisis more than a decade ago.

“Global economic prospects remain subdued and very uncertain,” the agency said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared nearly 1,300 points, or 5%, Monday as stocks roared back from a seven-day rout on hopes that central banks will take action to shield the global economy from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

Correspondent Kat Schuster and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Источник: https://www.ocregister.com/2020/03/02/costco-crush-water-toilet-paper-dwindle-on-coronavirus-fears

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