OPINION: Fear of coronavirus has plagued us all, inducing panic buying

A shortage of supplies and cancellation of schools leave some fearing the worst


Ashton Byers

A sign at WinCO Foods in Elk Grove was made by a WinCo employee on Sunday, March 15, informing customers that they are out of toilet paper. People flocked to stores due to the COVID-19 outbreak and possible mass lockdown.

Ashton Byers

The announcement of a national emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak made by President Donald Trump, left many, including myself, frantically scouring the stores for items needed in the event of a mandated quarantine. 

COVID-19, the disease responsible for the coronavirus outbreak, pandemic evoked the fear of the unknown, which in turns creates panic buying, when people try to obtain as many goods as possible in the event of a possible lockdown. 

But I fear this panic may be worse than the virus itself. 

What I witnessed shopping was pure chaos. Frantic shoppers dawned face masks and gloves as they were issued into WinCo Foods by a security guard, only allowing thirty people at a time to mitigate crowds. 

The shelves were wiped clear of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, soap, disinfectant wipes, bottled water and all nonperishable items. 


Those who try and remain calm in this state of chaos have no choice but to panic over the lack of supplies.

As I paced the aisles of WinCo Foods in search of cereal for my kids, my cart was snatched by a woman while I had my back turned.

Whispers and fears over COVID-19, the disease responsible for the recent coronavirus outbreak, pandemic could be heard throughout the store, as people discussed in small groups what they needed to stock up on. 

An elderly woman who looked upset after being told they had just run out of toilet paper, reluctantly grabbed some paper towels. 

Meanwhile at Costco, bottles of water were being limited to one per customer and sold out signs of toilet paper and paper towels were placed in the store. The dairy aisle was bare.

What impact does this have on me personally? 

As a senior at Sac State, I am prepared in the event of having to self quarantine because Sac State canceled most face-to-face classes and will be online the rest of the semester. I have to homeschool my children now, after the decision to close down schools within Sacramento City Unified School District to lessen exposure to COVID-19.

You can imagine the panic that has set in, both economically and financially as the future seems unclear. 

Less than two weeks ago, my only worries were to graduate this spring and find a job. 

Now I worry about keeping a roof over my head, food on the table and the economic consequences this pandemic will have on society. 

My fear is that this pandemic-induced panic buying will result in violence over lack of resources. I worry for the elderly, those who have no one, but need everything, the young, the helpless and society as a whole. 

My heart breaks for parents who are unable to find what they need in the store. The elderly who lack supplies because of an inability to fight the crowds at the store. 

Panic buying due to the pandemic only harbors more fear.