Looking at the increasing number of reports this past week of people who are flocking — mobbing, really — big box wholesale stores to stock up on food and supplies ahead of a potential outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, it reminds of the old adage: Some things never change.
Videos taken of mob scenes at a Costco in Brooklyn posted to social media and published by Zero Hedge remind us why we’re all “preppers” around here: Because things like the coronavirus happen. And they almost always happen without any prior warning, which is why people should be prepared for these kinds of things anyway, rather than wait for them to happen and then quite possibly risk your life to obtain enough food, water and provisions to ride out the storm, so to speak.
— Sitesh Shah (@SSWfan) February 29, 2020
And in Seattle, from another Costco:
Seattle area Costco today pic.twitter.com/e7mfWFcE0Q
— Brian Leyde (@BrianLeyde) February 29, 2020
This comes despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — along with the U.S. Surgeon General and other health officials, as well as the Trump administration — telling everyone to calm down.
Speaking of the Surgeon General, Vice Adm. Jerome Adams, his office sent out a tweet Saturday morning amid reports of more panic buying and, well, more panic, which is actually endangering American healthcare workers who will be expected to deal with any coronavirus outbreaks.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
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!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! 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!” his office wrote.
The link Adams posted goes to a CDC webpage that advises:
Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
Zero Hedge also posted a video allegedly featuring a semi-mob scene at a Sam’s Club in Hawaii, where customers flooded the store to stock up on provisions they should have had, especially living in such a remote location in the first place, hours from the U.S. mainland by air.
Then again, there is good reason why millions of Americans are getting more and more jittery. The first coronavirus death in the United States occurred on Saturday in the state of Washington, and within the hour, the governor, Democrat Jay Inslee, declared a state-wide emergency.
The Hill reported that Inslee issued the declaration to give emergency preparedness agencies the authority to use all necessary resources including the National Guard to prepare for an outbreak.
“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said in a statement. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state.
“Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic,” he added. “Our priority now is to slow the spread of this virus.”
That said, even the CDC recommends that families and individuals keep preparedness kits for just such emergencies. Kits should be kept in airtight plastic cases filled with basic medical supplies, water, canned goods, and even items of entertainment such as playing cards.
“Prepare separate kits for your home, work, and your vehicle since you never know where you’ll be when an emergency happens,” the agency recommends.
“I told my children that while I didn’t think that they were at risk right now, we, as a family, need to be preparing for significant disruption of our lives,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this week.