Hoarding supplies is dangerous

Empty+shelves+and+empty+cases%2C+where+the+food+will+be+no+more.+This+is+what+many+of+the+shelves+at+supermarkets+and+Walmarts+look+like+when+people+panic.

Photo Credit: The Declaration Staff

Empty shelves and empty cases, where the food will be no more. This is what many of the shelves at supermarkets and Walmarts look like when people panic.

An infographic describing the Covid-19 outbreak, which has led people to hoarding supplies.
Photo Credit: Sara
This infographic details the outbreak of Covid-19.

 

Hoarding is something that has become very common now that Covid-19, the strain of coronavirus that is frightening everyone, has reached the United States. In supermarkets everywhere, shelves are completely empty when they were restocked only an hour before. There are people hoarding sanitary items just so that they can be resold at crazy prices. Some people might feel hopeless as they hear of all the stories online. People are hoarding medicine, toilet paper, and even masks. But this is extremely dangerous, as we are hurting each other by doing this.

Masks

These masks are, first of all, very unlikely to help prevent your getting the disease. The most popular masks people have bought are either surgical masks or N-95 masks, and both pose problems for the common human. The surgical masks do not prevent disease from coming in. They just allow those who are infected– or performing surgery– to stop the spread of disease through coughing. N-95 masks do help, but if they aren’t correctly put on, they won’t help at all. The WHO says that if you are a healthy person, to only use masks if caring for an infected person.

But these masks, while unhelpful for any average person, are extremely necessary in hospitals. Hospital workers come into contact with sick people everyday, and they themselves might be sick. Due to how many people are buying these masks, though, there are shortages in hospitals. Any shortage in hospitals are bad, but especially during a pandemic. Hospital workers have even begun making makeshift masks out of everyday office supplies in some areas in the United States, according to Bloomberg News.

Hospital workers are the frontlines of defense against this disease. By hoarding masks we don’t even need, we’re hurting those who we need.

Hoarding Effects

Hoarding medicine is also something that’s been happening.

When one person stockpiles toilet paper, other people will. This results in empty supermarket shelves and people having to resort to shopping at multiple stores. Hoarding supplies, as USA Today states, “can hurt vulnerable people who don’t have the luxury of shopping around.” Vulnerable people means the elderly and immunocompromised, who are most at risk for getting Covid-19. If they’re shopping around, they’re very at risk, and their immune systems won’t be able to fight it off as easily.

There’s also no need to hoard supplies! Again, USA Today states that “experts say anything beyond having a two-weeks supply of necessities is excessive.” One person’s comfort shouldn’t be excessive or harm others. Stockpiling for months is excessive, unnecessary, and makes you seem selfish to others– because you are. A person who is hoarding is paranoid, yes, but they also refuse to listen to facts or help others. In this dangerous time, it is so important that people make sure they are not overwhelming themselves with panic and harming others.

What to Do

During this pandemic, it is extremely important to stay safe and keep others safe. Practice social distancing as a way to “flatten the curve,” or make sure that the spread of this disease doesn’t get out of hand. If it does, hospitals will get overwhelmed. If we do not flatten the curve, then not only can you expect to see infection rates go up, we will see mortality rates go up as well. An overwhelmed hospital means that there aren’t enough beds, and the most dangerous part of Covid-19 are the respiratory issues that come with this disease. If you have the virus, then at least social distancing stops a person from spreading the disease.

Since Covid-19 doesn’t show any symptoms for at least a week, then that means you must act as if you already have the disease. The most important part of that is social distancing, but you should also practice washing your hands, not touching your face, and being as sanitary as possible. Cough or sneeze into your elbow, and disinfect all surfaces.