Coronavirus Fears Spark Consumers Scrambling To Build 'Pandemic Pantries'

With fears of the rapidly spreading coronavirus escalating, some retailers are combating empty shelves as many consumers scramble to build “pandemic pantries.”

<p>&quot;Pandemic pantries&quot; have left some shelves empty at area supermarkets.</p>

"Pandemic pantries" have left some shelves empty at area supermarkets.

Photo Credit: Dana White

Items like hand sanitizer, food, health care, and other products have been rapidly flying off shelves as concerns of coronavirus continue to preoccupy the nation. Many are also reportedly stocking up on disinfectant wipes, household cleaners, and dry groceries.

Consumer market researcher Nielsen said this week that the hoarding of emergency supplies for what’s becoming called “pandemic pantries” began in China and Italy and is spreading to the United States.

“We expect the rush to stock up to have an almost immediate impact on supply chains for manufacturers of the most sought-after goods,” Nielsen stated. “Stocks of hand sanitizers and medical face masks have already dried up in some markets, with no clear indication of when supplies will be replenished.”

We understand that people are afraid and uncertain. Fear is a natural human response to any threat, especially when it’s a threat we don’t completely understand," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom said. "But as we get more data, we are understanding this virus, and the disease it causes, more and more.

"This virus is not SARS, it’s not MERS, and it’s not influenza. It is a unique virus with unique characteristics. Both COVID-19 and influenza cause respiratory disease and spread the same way, via small droplets of fluid from the nose and mouth of someone who is sick."

Adhanom added, "COVID-19 spreads less efficiently than flu, transmission does not appear to be driven by people who are not sick, it causes more severe illness than flu, there are not yet any vaccines or therapeutics, and it can be contained – which is why we must do everything we can to contain it."

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