26 votes

I'm meta-anxious about coronavirus and the panic it's inducing

I'm usually the least anxious person among all the people I know, even when shit is hitting the fan. I practically revel in hardships for the problem solving.

But, what is freaking me out right now is this mass panic. It started off as a joke but now it's real, people are literally selling toilet paper on craigslist of whatever. Maybe it's still a joke, I don't know. But mass hoarding of important goods seems to be causing disruptions already, from a lack of toilet paper to a shortage of surgical masks for medical professionals.

I would like to ask the community here what they think about this and how they expect things to go on. Are we going to have a second-order crisis in supply shortages? Are shipping route delays going to hit us on top of the local supply shortages? Because right now it's feeling apocalyptic, and I'm struggling between not acting like a selfish hoarder but also making sure I can get through this.

EDIT: Toilet paper is just a prominent example, not my primary concern (we have plenty still). I'm more concerned about e.g. pharmacy goods and produce, since where I live literally 95% of our produce is imported.

EDIT 2: This article articulates what is on my mind much better: An Infectious Diseases Specialist Reflects on COVID-19

50 comments

  1. [24]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    FWIW, toilet paper is kept in low stocks in stores directly because the price per square foot of product is fairly low when compared to other goods. There will likely be no shortage of toilet...

    FWIW, toilet paper is kept in low stocks in stores directly because the price per square foot of product is fairly low when compared to other goods. There will likely be no shortage of toilet paper as it is produced within the US - in fact, if you go back to your local stores the next morning, you'll likely see all of the toilet paper restocked.

    Are we going to have a second-order crisis in supply shortages?

    Judging by what has happened in other countries, it's unlikely. People are prepping now because it's when all the news is coming out. Things will die down (in terms of panic buying) soon, as people will then have all the supplies they need.

    24 votes
    1. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      I heard the panic is because of a rumor that Chinese wood pulp supply chains will be interrupted. It didn't make any sense, as the only reason I'm seeing for it is the waves of panic in the face...

      There will likely be no shortage of toilet paper as it is produced within the US

      I heard the panic is because of a rumor that Chinese wood pulp supply chains will be interrupted. It didn't make any sense, as the only reason I'm seeing for it is the waves of panic in the face of an induced local shortage of TP.

      6 votes
    2. [22]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      Do you know about what the general stockpiles are like for foodstuffs? TP is the least of my concerns to be honest.

      Do you know about what the general stockpiles are like for foodstuffs? TP is the least of my concerns to be honest.

      2 votes
      1. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        I don't have any exact figures, but I wouldn't be worried about foods, especially non-perishable foods such as canned goods, dried beans, rice, grains, etc. People also aren't panic buying food,...

        I don't have any exact figures, but I wouldn't be worried about foods, especially non-perishable foods such as canned goods, dried beans, rice, grains, etc. People also aren't panic buying food, which is kind of crazy when you think about it. Realistically stocking up on 1-2 weeks worth of food so you can stay inside while everything is closed down is a much more important thing to do.

        That being said, even in Wuhan where they had some pretty impressive quarantine efforts, grocery stores have stayed open and there's been no shortage of food.

        7 votes
      2. [20]
        reese
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Well, I hate to trivialize the topic, but if you're the Great Cornholio, this is a concern of the utmost importance. The people I saw buying TP in droves yesterday, stacking their carts with it to...

        Well, I hate to trivialize the topic, but if you're the Great Cornholio, this is a concern of the utmost importance. The people I saw buying TP in droves yesterday, stacking their carts with it to the brim, must have been preparing tithes for Him.

        In all seriousness, for anybody reading, make sure you've got some TP because a substantial proportion of the population are complete dicks and will literally buy all of it without any consideration whatsoever for others. You may go to the store, and not find any. The problem with that is you're increasing your risk of contracting the virus by going out again the next day or later to find some. Probably by the end of this pandemic at least somebody is either grudgingly not wiping their ass, or using leaves from the backyard, guaranteed.

        7 votes
        1. [14]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          At the same time, if you run out of TP it's not the end of the world either. Using a washcloth with soapy water, or quickly taking a shower to wash your behind are decent enough alternatives....

          At the same time, if you run out of TP it's not the end of the world either. Using a washcloth with soapy water, or quickly taking a shower to wash your behind are decent enough alternatives. Toilet seat attachment bidets are also a thing.

          11 votes
          1. Loire
            Link Parent
            This is glong to sound kind of gross but I got to the point one semester of University after a lean work summer where I couldn't afford anything, and I was selling furniture just to eat. If you...

            This is glong to sound kind of gross but I got to the point one semester of University after a lean work summer where I couldn't afford anything, and I was selling furniture just to eat.

            If you can't afford a bidet and don't want a shitty cloth just hop in the shower and let the water wash everything away. You will be clean as a whistle and what little was on you will wash down the drain without issue.

            5 votes
          2. [10]
            reese
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Err, someone I know exclusively washes his ass in the shower, so I've heard. He refuses to poo at work because he prefers his warm, sprinkly shower water. Don't tell anyone I said that, though. So...

            Err, someone I know exclusively washes his ass in the shower, so I've heard. He refuses to poo at work because he prefers his warm, sprinkly shower water. Don't tell anyone I said that, though.

            So I can confirm this is a viable alternative from a third-party source. I guess if you have one of those detachable shower heads that might work pretty well, although I'd be concerned about the ricochet.

            Edit: Anonymity.

            4 votes
            1. [4]
              Loire
              Link Parent
              From, erm, personal experience, I can tell you that an able bodied human can prient themselves in such a way as to allow a non-detachable shower head to hit all the right spots.

              From, erm, personal experience, I can tell you that an able bodied human can prient themselves in such a way as to allow a non-detachable shower head to hit all the right spots.

              5 votes
              1. [2]
                FishFingus
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I've never known anyone who just takes their dumps in the shower, but on the off chance that this helps anyone, you can certainly buy detachable shower hose heads made specifically for flushing...

                I've never known anyone who just takes their dumps in the shower, but on the off chance that this helps anyone, you can certainly buy detachable shower hose heads made specifically for flushing out your insides. I believe it's designed for pre-escapade prep.

                Edit: Actually going to attach this as an additional bit instead of lengthening the comment chain, 'cos it's not really on-topic, but you can either use it to deal with the living room (where the big, solid furniture lives) or just the entry hall.

                2 votes
                1. Loire
                  Link Parent
                  Are we assuming a future where toilets can't flush anymore? Just flush the solid waste and step over to the shower.

                  Are we assuming a future where toilets can't flush anymore?

                  Just flush the solid waste and step over to the shower.

                  3 votes
              2. reese
                Link Parent
                Hmm. I'll take your word for it.

                Hmm. I'll take your word for it.

                1 vote
            2. [5]
              vivaria
              Link Parent
              Wait wait wait. Is this "washes his ass in the shower" or "poops directly in the shower"? Because those two things are not equivalent!! You can definitely do one without the other. :V

              Err, someone I know exclusively washes his ass in the shower, so I've heard. He refuses to poo at work because he prefers his warm, sprinkly shower water.

              Wait wait wait. Is this "washes his ass in the shower" or "poops directly in the shower"? Because those two things are not equivalent!! You can definitely do one without the other. :V

              5 votes
              1. [4]
                reese
                Link Parent
                In my limited understanding, he shits in the toilet and then washes his ass in the shower. But I wouldn't be surprised to find out if this individual has at least once clogged the shower drain in...

                In my limited understanding, he shits in the toilet and then washes his ass in the shower. But I wouldn't be surprised to find out if this individual has at least once clogged the shower drain in a novel way.

                2 votes
                1. [2]
                  vivaria
                  Link Parent
                  That seems like a heck of a lot of work for a clean bum! Unless you get your body on a clock such that you only poop when it would coincide with your regular showering. Then... well, I guess that...

                  That seems like a heck of a lot of work for a clean bum! Unless you get your body on a clock such that you only poop when it would coincide with your regular showering. Then... well, I guess that would be pretty convenient!

                  3 votes
                  1. reese
                    Link Parent
                    The dude holds it in, and I don't think he realizes that's not healthy.

                    The dude holds it in, and I don't think he realizes that's not healthy.

                    2 votes
                2. Hidegger
                  Link Parent
                  Poop, wipe once with TP to remove majority, flush, wash ass in shower with body wash. This rations your TP use and reduces the mess in the shower. Generally if I take a shit in the morning before...

                  Poop, wipe once with TP to remove majority, flush, wash ass in shower with body wash.

                  This rations your TP use and reduces the mess in the shower. Generally if I take a shit in the morning before showering this is what I would normally do anyway. For the co-worker who does this as his regular ritual it could be a great way to not flare up hemorrhoids by regularly over rubbing dry tissue across your ass. It also leaves your ass cleaner in the end, just takes more work to clean and dry.

          3. vord
            Link Parent
            Installing bidets was the best decision ever. Used to use a roll a week. Now closer to a roll a month.

            Installing bidets was the best decision ever.

            Used to use a roll a week. Now closer to a roll a month.

            2 votes
          4. Amarok
            Link Parent
            There were plenty of paper towels left at my store yesterday. All you have to do to alleviate the roughness is get them damp before using them.

            There were plenty of paper towels left at my store yesterday. All you have to do to alleviate the roughness is get them damp before using them.

            2 votes
        2. [5]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Or, alternatively, now is the perfect time to buy and install a bidet and reduce your environmental consumption as well as have a much cleaner experience when going to the bathroom

          In all seriousness, for anybody reading, make sure you've got some TP because a substantial proportion of the population are complete dicks and will literally buy all of it without any consideration whatsoever for others.

          Or, alternatively, now is the perfect time to buy and install a bidet and reduce your environmental consumption as well as have a much cleaner experience when going to the bathroom

          4 votes
          1. [4]
            reese
            Link Parent
            I hear you, but I don't think my landlords would go for that.

            I hear you, but I don't think my landlords would go for that.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              This style of bidet can be attached to basically any toilet with minimal tools and can be removed very easily without anyone ever knowing it was there. I bought one ages ago and brought it with me...

              This style of bidet can be attached to basically any toilet with minimal tools and can be removed very easily without anyone ever knowing it was there. I bought one ages ago and brought it with me through several moves.

              There are also more expensive ones that are the entire seat cover - so long as you keep the old seat cover, you can easily replace it when you leave. In general bidets don't need to be run by landlords unless you're sharing a bathroom with them.

              11 votes
              1. [2]
                reese
                Link Parent
                That is affordable and not a thing I knew existed. Thank you for sharing this.

                That is affordable and not a thing I knew existed. Thank you for sharing this.

                3 votes
  2. [6]
    vektor
    Link
    Keep in mind that a shortage before the pandemic hits means well stocked pantries when it matters - and less burden on the retail system, who by then will already know what to get in higher...

    Keep in mind that a shortage before the pandemic hits means well stocked pantries when it matters - and less burden on the retail system, who by then will already know what to get in higher quantities. I'm not too worried, even though I just now returned from the store without soap. Oh well, I'll have to use shower gel if I run out.

    I'd say this virus is unlikely to completely disrupt supply chains. Sure, it's going to get messy, but we'll deal. Some foods are going to run out, some fresh stuff will be hard to get. But I don't think there'll be massive problems.

    At least here in germany. In the US, I'm not sure how it's going to go because so little testing or containment is being done.

    15 votes
    1. [4]
      ali
      Link Parent
      I’m also in Germany. I think it’s smart to have some food at home, I have enough to be fine for like a week. I think it’s also recommended in general. I wanna avoid leaving the house unless...

      I’m also in Germany. I think it’s smart to have some food at home, I have enough to be fine for like a week. I think it’s also recommended in general. I wanna avoid leaving the house unless necessary for a while, to protect myself and others.

      I did buy lentils and rice in bulk since it was cheaper that way, so if I was in an absolute emergency I could probably last a month, even though I would hate myself, rice and lentils afterwards.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        vektor
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Get onions and garlic, I heard they're super good to make rice and lentils taste decent. And get some spices too. Otherwise, I brought some more canned or frozen veggies. I've had 3kg of rice and...

        Get onions and garlic, I heard they're super good to make rice and lentils taste decent. And get some spices too. Otherwise, I brought some more canned or frozen veggies. I've had 3kg of rice and almost that of pasta at home before this even started. I frankly have no clue how long my preparations will last me - or even what will run out first. I'm reasonably confident I won't nearly starve within 2 weeks.

        (2 person household)

        6 votes
        1. ali
          Link Parent
          Funny, we are very similarly stocked

          Funny, we are very similarly stocked

      2. rogue_cricket
        Link Parent
        My personal go-to pantry curry is: Dry red lentils Canned tomatoes Canned coconut milk Garam masala (or whatever curry spice mix) Onion and garlic The only thing that will readily spoil is the...

        My personal go-to pantry curry is:

        • Dry red lentils
        • Canned tomatoes
        • Canned coconut milk
        • Garam masala (or whatever curry spice mix)
        • Onion and garlic

        The only thing that will readily spoil is the onion and garlic, which you can get dehydrated or as powder in a pinch. I have been eating this for like two weeks already just because I like it and I accidentally made my 2nd batch too big.

        3 votes
    2. Loire
      Link Parent
      I've been stuck on a drilling rig for the last two weeks and will be until sunday. I'm hoping the panic dies down because I have maybe half a week of food at home and every store around here has...

      I've been stuck on a drilling rig for the last two weeks and will be until sunday. I'm hoping the panic dies down because I have maybe half a week of food at home and every store around here has been picked clean.

  3. [2]
    weystrom
    Link
    I never understood the toilet paper thing, worst case scenario, you have a shower at home, don't you? It's really unlikely that water will get interrupted. If it would be, you're having a much...

    I never understood the toilet paper thing, worst case scenario, you have a shower at home, don't you? It's really unlikely that water will get interrupted. If it would be, you're having a much bigger problem than lack of TP at home.

    11 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      In the event of a shortage, I can tell without a doubt that no one ever died for wiping with newspapers. I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm saying your ass is not going to fall off or...

      In the event of a shortage, I can tell without a doubt that no one ever died for wiping with newspapers. I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm saying your ass is not going to fall off or anything.

      And if you run out of paper at all, there are lots of ass friendly vegetation.

      Or so I was told hahaha

      9 votes
  4. mrbig
    Link
    I had weak flu recently that is now totally gone. There's always flu going on after Carnaval. For some reason, Brazilians are not big on hoarding for catastrophe. So that's not a concern. No one...

    I had weak flu recently that is now totally gone. There's always flu going on after Carnaval.

    For some reason, Brazilians are not big on hoarding for catastrophe. So that's not a concern. No one is using masks on the street, not even in the airport (went there last week). I even went to the movies with friends yesterday. And we have a bunch of cases!

    On a personal note, I'm not really scared of death in general. Besides, me and my family have relatively good health and have access to good medical care.

    I am, of course, concerned with the welfare of others, but that's a little abstract for me. I was already concerned with multiple killing diseases and conflicts before covid-19.

    That said, 2% of Earth's population is 150 million people. That's a lot of people. I probably should be more empathetic, but I'm not feeling much right now.

    6 votes
  5. Death
    Link
    So one thing about the TP: this is likely something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. People see images of empty online, so they go and buy for fear of missing out, which spikes demand, which causes...

    But, what is freaking me out right now is this mass panic. It started off as a joke but now it's real, people are literally selling toilet paper on craigslist of whatever. Maybe it's still a joke, I don't know. But mass hoarding of important goods seems to be causing disruptions already, from a lack of toilet paper to a shortage of surgical masks for medical professionals.

    So one thing about the TP: this is likely something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. People see images of empty online, so they go and buy for fear of missing out, which spikes demand, which causes more empty shelves, which means more images of empty shelves, rinse and repeat. I wouldn't know for you locally but over here it's still very easy to just order a batch of TP online and get it delivered as usual. Supplies haven't run out, we're just experiencing an unexpected momentary spike in demand.

    Maybe some TP scalpers are going to make some money off the back of a few anxious and misinformed people, the majority will probably just get stuck with a massive quantity of TP and a tight budget for the month. Same with surgical masks: the important supplies will likely not end up on the consumer market anyways so the people hoarding them now are basically just burning cash.

    6 votes
  6. [8]
    CrazyOtter
    Link
    Mmmm I feel you right now. My 90 year old Grandma goes shopping once a fortnight and when she got there yesterday many standard items were gone due to panic buying (I've given her a few bits to...

    Mmmm I feel you right now. My 90 year old Grandma goes shopping once a fortnight and when she got there yesterday many standard items were gone due to panic buying (I've given her a few bits to get by for now). Very frustrating that vulnerable people are the most impacted by irrational behaviour.

    Panic is just as dangerous as the virus. I find meditation helps me relax and take stock of the situation.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Masks aside, I would rate stores being temporarily out of stock of some staple items as "somewhat inconvenient," not "as dangerous as the virus." Maybe there are other ways panic could be...

      Masks aside, I would rate stores being temporarily out of stock of some staple items as "somewhat inconvenient," not "as dangerous as the virus."

      Maybe there are other ways panic could be dangerous, though.

      8 votes
      1. JakeTheDog
        Link Parent
        It depends on what is out of stock e.g. NSAIDS, electrolytes etc. Of course maybe for the coronavirus electrolytes are not as necessary, but in general for an pandemic it could be the case.

        It depends on what is out of stock e.g. NSAIDS, electrolytes etc. Of course maybe for the coronavirus electrolytes are not as necessary, but in general for an pandemic it could be the case.

        2 votes
      2. CrazyOtter
        Link Parent
        Yup it's not any one thing, more the combination of panicky actions across society.

        Yup it's not any one thing, more the combination of panicky actions across society.

        1 vote
    2. [4]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      Yep, same here! That and maybe some video games to veg out... Too soon man, too soon...

      I find meditation helps me relax

      Yep, same here! That and maybe some video games to veg out...

      [...] take stock of the situation.

      Too soon man, too soon...

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        vektor
        Link Parent
        You're saying if I've got a bit of cash sitting around idly, I should wait a bit more before investing?

        Too soon man, too soon...

        You're saying if I've got a bit of cash sitting around idly, I should wait a bit more before investing?

        1. [2]
          JakeTheDog
          Link Parent
          Haha, no, I was making a joke out of your (apparently unintentional) pun. Just to lighten the mood... BUT, I was talking to some friends and they're actually waiting a bit before doing so, but it...

          Haha, no, I was making a joke out of your (apparently unintentional) pun. Just to lighten the mood...

          BUT, I was talking to some friends and they're actually waiting a bit before doing so, but it would also be good to buy as things go up (average it out). But overall, yes.

          1. vektor
            Link Parent
            Wasn't my pun, I just butted in. Might've been intentional for all I know. But I don't even really see the pun, or at least not why it's "too soon".

            Wasn't my pun, I just butted in. Might've been intentional for all I know. But I don't even really see the pun, or at least not why it's "too soon".

  7. [3]
    patience_limited
    Link
    Okay, so I just did a bad thing and stocked the pantry with an oversupply of chocolate. ß-phenethylamine helps with anxiety, right? But seriously, there's nothing wrong with being nervous right...

    Okay, so I just did a bad thing and stocked the pantry with an oversupply of chocolate. ß-phenethylamine helps with anxiety, right?

    But seriously, there's nothing wrong with being nervous right now, and thank you for broaching the subject. It's unlikely that critical shortages of basic foods will arise. In most parts of the developed world, the pandemic isn't going to be a crisis where people starve because goods aren't available or can't be delivered.

    At least where I am, it's nowhere near as bad as things got for any approaching major hurricane in Florida. Costco was running low on some items of fresh produce, and there was a short list of consumer disposable goods being rationed, like diapers. Otherwise, no shortage whatsoever of rice, beans, dairy, and other staples. And honestly, as others have mentioned above, we could stand to reduce consumption of disposables.

    The longer-term concern is that the pandemic shock is one more stressor in an already fragile economic and geopolitical situation. Some of that fragility is due to years of oversupply and inadequate demand (e.g. oil). Depending on how long extreme control measures are in place, some industries, like travel and mass entertainment, may collapse. Those collapses may prove to be economically contagious, as demand drops further from lower employment, or bad debts are created. Governments are spending and printing and loaning huge amounts of money to shore up the system; that may prevent collapses, but these actions will have their own long-term consequences. The crystal ball is very cloudy right now.

    Meanwhile, just keep in close touch with your friends, family, and loved ones. Go for long walks in the woods, take deep breaths of fresh air, and stay away from the computer and news periodically.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      JakeTheDog
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Okay so I went from asking for consolation (albeit subtly) to now being more anxious... Not that I blame you... EDIT: also, natural disasters like hurricanes are pretty isolated, so although it's...

      Okay so I went from asking for consolation (albeit subtly) to now being more anxious...

      Not that I blame you...

      EDIT: also, natural disasters like hurricanes are pretty isolated, so although it's acutely and locally catastrophic, you can still rely on the global system. Not so much in this case, especially with such a huge reliance on China. Hence my concern...

      2 votes
      1. vektor
        Link Parent
        Oh, china's got this epidemic curbed alright. They're not in trouble anymore. A few thousand dead, basically no new infections. The trouble for them now is to avoid secondary infections from...

        Oh, china's got this epidemic curbed alright. They're not in trouble anymore. A few thousand dead, basically no new infections. The trouble for them now is to avoid secondary infections from relaxing quarantine too early or from travellers from abroad. But the way they handled the initial outbreak, that's not going to give them too much trouble.

        Just don't ask for the human cost.

  8. Diet_Coke
    Link
    My worry is that everyone semi overreacts for a couple weeks, which is ultimately beneficial. The government continues lieing about the severity of the disease. Then people get tired of being...

    My worry is that everyone semi overreacts for a couple weeks, which is ultimately beneficial. The government continues lieing about the severity of the disease. Then people get tired of being locked up and say, well nothing happened so I guess we overreacted. Then the disease starts spreading again in the fall.

    2 votes
  9. crdpa
    Link
    What's messing with me is the probability that they will cancel the King Diamond show here in Brazil in May. I am finally going to see my childhood idol and this happens.

    What's messing with me is the probability that they will cancel the King Diamond show here in Brazil in May.

    I am finally going to see my childhood idol and this happens.

    1 vote
  10. [3]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    There are a few reactions I get from this, admittedly all of them very indifferent. 1: The virus is infecting top-level officials like advisors of trump, they might actually suffer from this. 2:...

    There are a few reactions I get from this, admittedly all of them very indifferent.

    1: The virus is infecting top-level officials like advisors of trump, they might actually suffer from this.

    2: This might actually be the straw that causes a new recession. If so then I'll be somewhat disappointed.

    3: This might be the straw that breaks the trump administration, although I doubt it.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      JakeTheDog
      Link Parent
      Why are you bringing up Trump here? There are other threads for that. This is more of a sociological and psychological concern I'm asking about here.

      Why are you bringing up Trump here? There are other threads for that. This is more of a sociological and psychological concern I'm asking about here.

      4 votes
      1. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        Because personally that's what I think could happen and what I expect to go down when the virus spreads further. Did you mean it as in what will we, normal people do? In that case then I don't...

        Because personally that's what I think could happen and what I expect to go down when the virus spreads further. Did you mean it as in what will we, normal people do? In that case then I don't really know.

        1 vote