Now, novel coronavirus panic buyers are snatching up … toilet paper?
Retailers in the US and Canada have started limiting the number of toilet paper packs customers can buy in one trip. Some supermarkets in the UK are sold out. Grocery stores in Australia have hired security guards to patrol customers.
An Australian newspaper went so far as printing eight extra pages in a recent edition – emergency toilet paper, the newspaper said, should Aussies run out.
Why? Toilet paper does not offer special protection against the virus. It’s not considered a staple of impending emergencies, like milk and bread are.
So why are people buying up rolls more quickly than they can be restocked?
People resort to extremes when they hear conflicting messages
Steven Taylor is a clinical psychologist and author of “The Psychology of Pandemics,” which takes a historic look at how people behave and respond to pandemics. And compared to past pandemics, the global response to the novel coronavirus has been one of widespread panic.
“On the one hand, [the response is] understandable, but on the other hand it’s excessive,” Taylor, a professor and clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia, told CNN. “We can prepare without panicking.”