Shop shelves are empty, job sites are filled with job postings for shelf stockers, packers, grocery shoppers, personal shoppers, check out staff, anyone able-bodied who can help keep up with the hoarding insanity that COVID-19 has created. 

Here in Denver, a Costco in the Littleton area has a queue outside it before opening, the toilet paper aisle of most shops bear nothing but dust, Lysol and Clorox are a long distant memory. Safeway is bare. The same story is playing out across the United States.

While the hoarders stockpile toilet paper, anti-bacterial wipes (it's a virus, this isn't going to help), pasta, and rice, the rest of the civilized population goes without. There are the elderly, the immune-deficient, the poor who cannot afford to stockpile hundreds of dollars worth of groceries, and those who simply cannot get to a grocery store. Social media is awash with images of the elderly scouring empty shelves for even a scrap of toilet paper. For them, there is nothing.

Mothers across America are trying to find baby wet-wipes, as misguided individuals have bought up all of those too, not understanding that the Corona Virus is, in fact, a virus, and an anti-bacterial wipe will do nothing to prevent the virus spreading. 

Misinformation is at an all-time high, with people posting and reposting completely made-up facts, numbers, how-to's, and more - without checking their sources. People are spreading panic and scaring the misinformed into buying things they don’t need. In the panic that they might get sick, the American population has forgotten good judgment, compassion, care, and the tenets the country was founded on. 

It is every wo/man for themselves.

The prophecy is self-fulfilling. At the beginning of this pandemic, there were suggestions in the media that there might be shortages, so those with inclinations to hoard did so at an ever-increasing rate. Neighbors encouraged neighbors to bulk buy, clear the shelves, ‘protect their families’. Bulk buying at this magnitude caused the shortages suggested in the media at the end of February. Shops are unable to cope, and those that bought their hoard can sit back and say ‘see, I told you so’.

But in this insanity, there are little beacons of who we really are. 

A distillery in Texas - Bendt Distilling Co - is giving away their very own version of hand cleaner, a 70% alcohol volume mixture using a ‘high proof byproduct of their distilling process’. In Grand Junction, Colorado, Lance Ferguson from Ruff Around the Edges, a dog trainer, and canine behaviorist, bought extra toilet paper stock to give it away to the elderly and those who cannot afford to stockpile it. 

Having grown up in Zimbabwe, I am no stranger to shortages of basic items, but I have never seen the kind of insanity that is here in the USA right now. I remember people sharing, ‘making a plan’, and just waiting it out. Our communities pooled resources, worked together, and helped each other. I hope the tide will turn, and America will find its compassion.

Please, think before you share something on social media, and pause before you buy your 10th pack of pasta or 100th roll of toilet paper.

For accurate information on the virus please check the CDC and do your part to stop the panic, before we are faced with the apocalypse.

For constantly updated information from legitimate sources, check the LinkedIn feed.

For an accurate list of cleaners that kill COVID-19 check here:

© Georgina Ford - Please backlink to this article if you choose to use any portion.