An Outbreak of Fear

Coronavirus pandemic leaves community members stocking up, fearful of outcome

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Bobbie Morrison

Schnucks is wiped clean of necessities such as bread and other food items as community members prepare for a large outbreak. "I believe that America will come back stronger like [we] always do," junior Kal-El Green said. America has hit record lows in the stock market since the COVID-19 outbreak, but many have no doubt that we will bounce back.

Recently, stores in Washington, Mo. and across the country have been ripped apart by customers who were desperately trying to stock up before the peak of COVID-19. The predictions blasted by media sources and professional organizations such as the CDC have people wondering when this pandemic will come to an end. 

The empty shelf phenomenon caused by panic buying has many Americans struggling to purchase basic necessities such as toilet paper and diapers. 

President Donald Trump addressed this issue during a press conference on March 15, 2020. 

“You don’t have to buy so much,” Trump stated. “Just relax.” 

While government officials and the president himself have asked citizens to avoid hoarding necessities, the overwhelming fear continues to be at the forefront of people’s mind in the grocery store. 

Throughout the community, shelves are wiped clean in Schnucks, Walmart and Target. When asking store employees when the shelves will be restocked, employees answer with the times that their trucks come in.

The American people and others across the globe are clinging onto their government officials’ statements and checking news sources regularly. With misinformation spreading rapidly, people are growing frustrated and scared of the uncertainty. As of March 24 and the death toll approaching 600 in the US according to Worldometers, people are frantic, and misleading headlines are overwhelming the public. 

“I believe the epidemic has caused nationwide panic due to the media,” junior Kal-El Green said. “COVID-19 is only deadly to those who have existing respiratory issues and weakened immune systems.” 

While many believe that stocking up is helpful in preparing for the unseeable future, community members believe that it’s only contributing to the building numbers of the virus. 

“If we respect social distancing and avoid stores and gas stations, I believe everything will turn out okay,” Green said. “The rush for supplies only causes a wider spread of the virus.”

It is important to be considerate of other people while you are buying necessities. Stocking up is important but panic buying only leads to frustration and lack of supplies for others who need them.  

“Panic buying isn’t good, but it isn’t bad if you limit yourself and take others into consideration,” junior Haley Grannemann said. “Buying over time is better than panic buying all at once.”