As larger swaths of the United States begin to essentially shut down as the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, the country is already teetering on the brink of collapse.
Protests, arguments and fights are breaking out on college campuses, grocery stores, and big box chains as panicked Americans scramble for what could be the last opportunity to stock up on food, water and other goods before supply chains collapse.
On March 10, officials at the University of Dayton (Ohio) announced that all in-person classes would be suspended beginning the next day due to fears about spreading the coronavirus.
UD housing will close at 6 pm March 11. If you are approved for an extended stay or housing over spring break, you are permitted to stay. Students should take any items necessary to continue their education from home as well as other essential items in case time away is extended.
— University of Dayton (@univofdayton) March 10, 2020
And while officials probably thought that the decision might be mildly opposed, they were caught completely off-guard by the massive, violent protests that followed.
As reported by Law Enforcement Today:
Mere hours after the announcement was made, hundreds of students gathered around the campus, in what can be best described as a rebellious party.
School officials noted the congregation started out as “one last large gathering before spring break,” and was never meant to be any kind of protest. However, police had to get involved after the shenanigans went beyond just good times.
You can't give students of a large university less than 24 hours to vacate campus and expect anything other than riots. And for once, the rioting students are right. https://t.co/bwk8WsrCSx
— Abaddon (@BacchusFan) March 11, 2020
The resultant melee required officers to respond from surrounding areas before the situation was under control once again, LET reported.
But all in all, that incident was mild compared to what followed.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, a series of fights and other incidents broke out at various locations as Americans scrambled to buy up provisions ahead of what could be a prolonged supply chain disruption.
Tempers — already short due to crowded store conditions and simple uncertainty about what to expect regarding the virus’ spread — were short and it didn’t take much to set people off.
“Disturbing footage has emerged on social media showing fights breaking out in stores across the country as panicked Americans rush to stock up on supplies amid the national coronavirus emergency,” the paper reported.
Videos posted on social media recorded two incidents — one in Georgia and another in New York — involving arguments and fights including one in which two men assaulted each other with wine bottles.
The Daily Mail noted that in one video taken at a Brooklyn Costco, an employee pleaded with a pair of women to calm down after they began screaming at each other when their carts collided in a packed store.
At a Georgia Sam’s Club, meanwhile, two men beat each other with wine bottles until they broke, then they began using shards of glass to slash one another. (Related: Dave Hodges interviews Mike Adams about where the coronavirus pandemic will be headed next… and it isn’t pretty.)
The brawl took place around 5:30 p.m., according to Hiram, Ga. police who were called to the scene. Bystanders told cops that the fight started after two people bumped carts.
“One of them, a man using a motorized shopping cart because of a leg injury, reportedly slammed into a family’s cart carrying a child as the shoppers were trying to get to the same aisle,” the Daily Mail reported.
At that point, the mother of the child confronted the man in the motorized cart and allegedly struck him. And though he attempted to back out of the confrontation, the woman and a male companion followed him and the fight escalated.
After it was over, according to video posted online, one of the victims was heavily bandaged and was seen being carted out of the store on an ambulance stretcher.
Police claimed that the incident had nothing to do with “concerns over COVID-19,” but that’s complete nonsense. The store was packed precisely because people are concerned about the virus’ spread.
In any event, we expect these incidents to skyrocket in the coming days and weeks, especially as entire regions ‘shut down’ due to the virus.