The world has been going through a scary, difficult and challenging time in the last couple of weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. The fact that we should all stay in-doors and social distancing is bringing out some peculiar coping mechanisms. For example, the current hoarding of toilet paper.
In the Post
- Latest Update and Remedies for Owners of Small Businesses
- How did This Toilet Paper Stockpiling Start?
- Debunking Myths around the Novel Coronavirus
- The Coronavirus is man-made
- Simple home remedies to cure the virus and prevent its spread?
- Blacks are immune to coronavirus
- Heat kills the virus easily
- The virus spreads also through mail
- Kids cannot get the virus
- If you get coronavirus you will surely die
- Raw materials used for face masks and toilet paper are the same
- Possible Reasons for Toilet Paper Panic Buying
- Do I Need to Stockpile Toilet Paper?
- To Wrap Up
Before diving in, we’d like to let you know:
Latest Update and Remedies for Owners of Small Businesses
Amid this global crisis (yes, we’d like to call it this way), we should try hard to keep away from being panic, but stay well-informed as well.
To help spread tustful information, we hereby provid you three sources to keep you updated:
- If you want detailed data of global trend, check out this COVID-19 Infection Map. It also allows selection of your local state to learn more.
- To understand how the novel coronavirus has been spreading since early January, go to this animated map.
- This live update tells you the latest news briefings about the pandemic.
For owners of small businesses, we totally understand what you are facing with, and we suggest seeking help and support from these organizations:
- Businesses in the US: This is a COVID-19 Guidance and Loan Resources by Small Business Administration,
- Australian small business owners could contact Small Business Association of Australia for help,
- Small businesses and the self-employed in the UK: this is advice and guidance by Federation of Small Businesses, and
- For Canadian individuals and businesses, your Department of Finance has released an Economic Response Plan
Now, let’s get back on track.
How did This Toilet Paper Stockpiling Start?
It is a little strange that people are obsessed with toilet paper. Seriously, face masks, hand soaps and sanitizers are a little understandable, but toilet paper is confusing.
From buying toilet rolls that could make a throne, to people printing black pages of newspapers so they could serve as toilet paper, it is clear that people have gone bonkers for the humble toilet roll that naturally never crosses one’s mind unless you are sitting on the toilet.
The panic buying trend started in Hong Kong in February and quickly spread to other countries such as Australia, Singapore, UK, and the US.
Now, it got so bad in Hong Kong, that apparently there was an armed gang that robbed a retail shop of 600 toilet rolls that are worth approximately $130. Whoever heard of toilet paper being stolen? Clearly, Coronavirus has made petty thieves from some people.
Authorities state that panic buying is not even as a result of the shortage, but plenty of false information that is circulating online.
By the end of February, residents of Tokyo had already been limited to just one packet of toilet roll per person.
Currently, in America, retailers have already started feeling the heat, and are restricting the number of toilet paper packs per customer. The United Kingdom is just on the brink of a shortage, and Australian stores have employed guards to help with customers who seem to be out of control.
Additionally, American stores have come up with “elderly hours,” where the old can be able to shop and not have to stay in queues for too long waiting to be served.
Social media has been known to do more harm than good, and in the wake of the coronavirus infections, a lot of information has been circulating online. Most of it is inaccurate and misleading. Here is some information you may have heard that is not necessarily true.
A lot has been said about this, with rumors circulating online saying that a Chinese lab that was secretly creating a bioweapon leaked the virus. People also said that Americans originated this virus, and that most of them who had died of the flu recently was actually from coronavirus.
What is the truth?
Scientists from all over the world have greatly dismissed these claims, and although this has not stopped the rumors from spreading, the truth is that experts are still trying to figure the virus out, and where it came from.
Current research indicates that it probably originated from bats and had been transmitted on them before it jumped on to people.
Simple home remedies to cure the virus and prevent its spread?
While garlic, water, and vitamin C are very good for you, some social media posts claim that eating garlic and drinking water every few minutes while taking vitamin C shall help protect you from the virus and even cure you if you have the symptoms.
The truth is that currently, there is no known cure for the novel coronavirus. Scientists and research doctors are still at work looking for a vaccine, but it could take as long as a year, before this is established.
The best way to ensure you protecting yourself at the moment is by keeping a distance from anyone you suspect to be infected, washing your hands regularly with soap and water and ensuring that you cover your mouth and your nose as you sneeze.
Also, ensure to disinfect all objects in your home, and throw the tissues away after use.
Here are more information in this regard from the World Health Oraganization.
This is simply a lie and should not be believed.
Anyone can get the virus. When someone who is infected comes near you, you are already at risk of contracting it regardless of your race. This is evidenced by the fact that the virus is spreading fast all over Africa.
Heat kills the virus easily
President Trump had claimed that heat can kill coronavirus, and this could have been the source of the rumor, and most people quickly spread this rumor.
This is simply not true. According to the WHO, even hand dryers cannot kill this virus. UV lambs shouldn’t be used to sterilize your hands or your body either as it can even lead to irritation on your skin.
The virus spreads also through mail
According to studies, this novel coronavirus stays viable for hours to days on different surfaces. It’s contagious on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and up to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel.
This means the virus on mail can not make it’s way to you if the shipment takes more than one day. That said, we don’t know if someone asymptomatic has shed virus in the midway. And, if you bought something that’s made of plastic or stainless steel, the virus would probably be alive after a 2-day delivery.
That’s why health experts urges us to wash or sanitize our hands often, in order to reduce the risk of contracting this virus.
Kids cannot get the virus
Again, not true.
Everyone of any age can get infected with the new coronavirus, although the older people are at greater risk, and people who have pre-existing conditions are more vulnerable to the infection.
Also, the fact that most of the confirmed cases are from adults, doesn’t exempt children.
Well, this is what people believed in the beginning, and it seemed true as deaths from coronavirus were being reported daily
Statistics show that the death rate from coronavirus is roughly 3%, of all the infected cases. If you get coronavirus, you shall get sick with a mild or moderate respiratory illness that is similar to the common cold, and with time, the symptoms will go away on their own.
However, older people and those with some underlying diseases ARE exposed to higher risk of sliding to more severe conditions.
Raw materials used for face masks and toilet paper are the same
This is not true. As a result of this rumor, most people rushed to the market and started panic buying toilet paper and face masks.
The truth is that most toilet paper is made from wood pulp and other materials which are not similar to what is used to make face masks.
The face masks are made from paper and non-woven materials and are designed to ensure that even the smallest micro-organisms do not pass through.
Possible Reasons for Toilet Paper Panic Buying
According to psychologists and behavioral analysts, the main reason why people have gone crazy over toilet paper ever since the discovery of the new virus is because everyone is trying to take back control.
The virus is spreading fast, and all over the world. Everyone is frightened and the situation is beyond their control. Buying toilet paper and other necessities is a way of taking back this control that has been taken away from them.
The question on everyone’s mind is; Why toilet paper? Does it protect anyone from contracting the virus? And is this just the beginning? Shall we start having a shortage of staples such as milk and bread?
We have analyzed for you some reasons why people are panic buying and stockpiling toilet paper as a coping mechanism and we hope that these reasons shall be able to shine a light on this mysterious behavior. The points are as per the evaluations of doctors who understand human beings and how they behave.
Lack of enough information
The author of “The psychology of Pandemics,” Steven Taylor has taken a historic look at how people usually respond to pandemics and how they behave. He compared past responses to pandemics and the current response to coronavirus and came up with the conclusion that people do not have adequate information about this virus, and on the one hand, their reaction is quite understandable, but on the other, it is a little excessive.
The virus is scaring people because it is new and unknown. Scientists are spending sleepless nights trying to understand more about the virus and looking for a vaccine. In light of this, people have all sorts of misinformation that is causing a panic.
One panic buying begets another
The images being shown around on social media of people pilling up their shopping carts very high has caused others to want to do the same. When you see your neighbor doing something, you shall think that you need to do the same as well.
When faced with danger, people over-prepare.
As much as it looks absurd, Frank Farley, the former American Psychological Association president, and a professor at Temple University says that there could be some practicalities to this behavior.
With international health agencies such as WHO declaring it a national pandemic, and advising people to stay home and avoid coming into contact with other people, it is natural for human beings to want to prepare for this.
This virus has engineered a survivalist mentality where people believe that they must stock up as much as possible, of everything to survive the next couple of days.
You can also check out some other reasons explained by psychologists, if you’re interested.
Do I Need to Stockpile Toilet Paper?
You do not need to do this, because a toilet paper shortage is unlikely to occur. The average American uses around 100 rolls of toilet paper per year, and it would be worrying if most of it came from China since their supply chains have been disrupted severely due to the Covid-19, but this is not the case.
The US actually imports very little toilet paper, approximately less than 10%, and most of the imported toilet paper is from Mexico and Canada.
The US has been producing its own toilet paper in mass quantities since the 1800s. While most other manufacturers left the country, toilet paper companies did not, and today, you can find more than 150 companies making toilet rolls.
It is therefore virtually impossible for it to go out of stock.
The UK and Australian governments have asked their people to stop panic buying toilet paper. The governments reassured them that it is unlikely to go out of stock, although Australia has seen some possibility of it happening. One of their main manufacturers has shifted their production to South Australia, to help deal with the shortage.
Most of the supermarkets do not have any toilet paper for the public, and the main concern here is that, when everyone hoards, then, they cause the rest to have nothing, which is even worse. Take an example of sanitizers, if you sanitize yourself and do not leave some for your neighbor, then, chances are that you are still at risk, because the rest of the people did not manage to buy the product to protect themselves.
To Wrap Up
Toilet paper has got to be the most surprising purchase of the decade. There has never been a shortage of toilet paper in the world, and this is the first time that most governments are having to deal with such an occurrence.
The one most shocking thing is that; Covid-19 does not cause any gastrointestinal problems, so the reason for the hysteria is not very clear, although most people assume it’s due to the wrong information going round on social media.
It is important to be vigilant during these trying times and to ensure that you stay indoors so you can help protect you and your family from the virus. Also, do not buy too much toilet paper, as it doesn’t help much, and will cause other people to lack the same commodity.
Spread the word, and help stop the pandemic