CoronaWHYrus: the idiocy of stockpiling

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Supermarkets across the UK are struggling to keep up with the demands of the British public for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and dried pasta as the public shows it has no idea how to deal with a crisis.

Let me be clear – COVID-19 is a very scary threat, if it can’t be contained it will lead to the deaths of thousands of loved ones and as the days tick on, it’s looking like we are struggling to contain it. Government advice, at the time of writing, is to wash your hands regularly and avoid unneeded social contact. Unfortunately, the British public seem to have ignored this advice and came up with their own ways of protecting themselves: actively making the issue worse in the process.

Those who have stockpiled hand sanitiser have shown a clear misunderstanding on how washing your hands actually helps in this case. For washing your hands to actually be an effective method of combating COVID-19 – it requires everybody to do their bit.

Stockpiling can increase the risk of infection

If one person buys all of the hand sanitiser, then everyone else (including society’s most vulnerable) are left with nothing, putting them more at risk of infection, which in turn, makes the person who stockpiled the hand sanitiser more at risk of infection.

Congratulations, you played yourself.

The public have also taken it upon themselves to avoid Chinese restaurants and takeaways, with many of these businesses reporting online that they are struggling to stay open as their nights are becoming very, very quiet. You’d imagine with the advice of social distancing and self-quarantine, this would be a good time of year to be a takeaway. Clearly, however, some people have made the racist connection that since COVID-19 originated in China, all Chinese people must be avoided. This absolutely abhorrent behaviour is leading to some people having a financial burden, as well as the burden from the disease.

Now, the government certainly aren’t helping matters. The lack of transparency has people scared that they might not be able to go and buy food if worst comes to worst, so they are panic and stockpile. This leads to others seeing that the supplies in shops are dwindling, so they feel that they have to stockpile themselves. Some leadership from the government could mean a lot here, but we can’t excuse the individuals either.

Many look back and admire how the British public “pulled together” at the times of World War II. We will look back at how we reacted and treated others in the events of COVID-19 and feel deeply ashamed of ourselves and our society.

Last modified: 18th March 2020

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