This article was originally published by Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse Blog.
I can’t remember a time when we have seen such widespread “panic buying” all over the nation. Today I spoke with someone that just visited the closest Wal-Mart in this area, and I was told that there are empty shelves all over the store. There are very few canned goods left, some of the most essential medications have been cleaned out, and there was nothing left in the long-term storable food section at all.
Of course, similar things are being reported at major retail stores all across the United States. All of a sudden, fear of COVID-19 has motivated thousands upon thousands of Americans to start prepping like crazy. But most of the population is still not taking this crisis seriously enough. As the number of confirmed cases all over the world continues to rise at an exponential rate, what are the stores going to look like when most of the country finally realizes that they should be prepping for an extended pandemic?
Over the past several days, this coronavirus outbreak has escalated significantly.
From Saturday to Sunday, the number of confirmed cases in Italy jumped by 50 percent…
Italy reported a 50% increase in coronavirus cases Sunday, as the US further restricted travel and the famed La Scala opera house closed.
Italy’s Civil Protection Authority reported the country now has 1,694 confirmed coronavirus cases, up from 1,128 confirmed cases on Saturday. Thirty-four people have died.
And in Germany, the number of confirmed cases actually doubled in just 24 hours.
A “boom” of confirmed cases of the coronavirus that has now killed more than 3,000 people around the world — including two in the U.S. — could already be racing across America despite ramped-up efforts to contain the outbreak, experts say.
The spread of the virus by “community transmissions” is an indication that we could indeed be looking at the tip of the iceberg,” Ogbonnaya Omenka, an assistant professor and public health specialist at Butler University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, told USA TODAY on Sunday.
Overall, the number of confirmed cases outside of China has more than tripled over the past week. If we continue to see that sort of growth rate, there will be more than a million confirmed cases outside of China just five weeks from now.
I don’t think that it will happen that quickly, and let us pray that we don’t hit that number at all, but right now this outbreak is starting to spiral out of control.
As the fear of this virus rises, grocery stores from coast to coast are stocking up on essential supplies in an effort “to prevent shortages”…
Now grocers are working to prevent shortages and preparing for a spike in demand for disinfectants and long-lasting items such as pasta and canned food. Some are ramping up orders from suppliers.
“This is like a natural disaster, but it’s an illness,” said Doug Baker, vice president of industry relations at FMI, a trade group for food retailers.
In the short-term, hopefully, things won’t be too bad.
But without a doubt, global supply chains are becoming extremely strained due to the widespread shutdowns inside of China, and that has led one analyst to predict “empty shelves in Target and Walmart as early as April”…
“Literally, empty shelves in Target and Walmart as early as April,” predicts David Iwinski, a local China business consultant who once ran a factory in China.
Most retail stores are likely to have shortages because the coronavirus in China is hampering the manufacture of products shipped to America.
If there are things that you need to go buy, you need to do it now, because thousands upon thousands of Americans are already storming the stores.
In Los Angeles, a local Costco was quickly raided of the most essential supplies when the store opened on Saturday morning…
At a Costco Wholesale market in Los Angeles Saturday morning, a swarm of shoppers loaded up carts with essential items to prepare for a possible period of quarantine.
According to the chain, water, paper towels and Clorox disinfecting wipes were the most in-demand products.
And up in northern California, photos of completely empty shelves over the weekend were rapidly shared on social media…
On social media, residents further north shared shocking photos and videos from Costco centers in San Francisco.
Shelves were depleted of tinned food, while some shoppers climbed up onto shelving in order to reach remaining supplies of rice.
Of course, the exact same thing is happening in other states as well.
In Washington, one local resident claimed that “thousands of people” have been descending on the local Costco centers…
I live in the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington State. My advice for those elsewhere – go to Costco now. Thousands of people at local stores yesterday – not where you want to be if there is a virus spreading. Glad I went a week ago.
And one video that has been very widely shared shows hundreds of people lined up at a Costco in Brooklyn before it even opened in the morning.
The surgeon general has a message for people who want to run out and stockpile masks to combat the coronavirus – don’t.
“Seriously people – STOP BUYING MASKS!” Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Personally, I don’t understand his logic. If the masks are not effective, then why do healthcare providers need them?
Yes, the masks have limited effectiveness against a virus that is so easy to catch. But at least they are better than nothing.
The time of “the perfect storm” is here, and this virus has the potential to greatly accelerate our problems.
We still don’t know if this will be the great global pandemic that so many have warned about, but Bill Gates certainly seems to believe that this may be the “once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about”…
Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said the coronavirus that has killed at least 2,859 people and infected more than 83,700 globally may be the “once-in-a-century pathogen we’ve been worried about.”
“I hope it’s not that bad, but we should assume it will be until we know otherwise,” Gates wrote in an article published Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Personally, I am still hoping that this outbreak will start to subside once warmer weather arrives.
But so far nothing is slowing this virus down. As I mentioned above, the total number of cases outside of China has more than tripled over the last seven days, and that is a huge red flag.
If you need to get to the store, do it now. Because at the rate that people are raiding the stores, there could soon be shortages of some of the most important supplies.
About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations, I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and anyway that you can share these articles with others is a great help.