Coronavirus: Heartbreaking impact of COVID-19 panic buying

The elderly and newborn mothers are feeling the effects of other people panic buying essential items during the coronavirus outbreak.

Megan L Hamilton, an Australian mother, posted on Facebook saying she had been in a chemist when the elderly man in front of her looked like he was about to start crying as he counted out coins to pay for toilet paper.

When she offered to pay, they got talking and he told her he had been catching buses all day to try and find toilet paper he could afford and carry amongst the shortage.

"The poor guy had been catching buses since 9:30am this morning just to get some toilet paper as they had run out.

"He normally buys the cheap 4pk brand from the supermarket but they had none and the other brands were either too expensive or they were too big bundles that he couldn't carry home, as he walks a fair distance from his last stop,” the post read. 

She called people who had been buying excessive amounts "selfish" and an "absolute joke".

People have been posting photos online of empty shelves in multiple supermarkets as well as long lines waiting for new stock to come in.

Some people have been getting emotional over their toilet paper. In Australia, a man was tasered for causing a fight over the last pack and social media users expressed sadness when a truck en route to restock supermarkets caught fire on a Brisbane motorway.

Justine Bowers had a similar experience to Hamilton in her local Perth supermarket.

In a social media post, she shared a photo of an elderly man who had to buy tissues as the supermarket was out of toilet paper.

"This absolutely broke my heart seeing this old man grabbing tissues because there was no toilet paper left! 

"I offered him the very few toilet rolls that I had as I couldn't bear to see him go without!

She criticised those who were panic buying for not thinking of how it could affect other people.

"Pull your f****** head in people and stop panic buying toilet paper!!! And shame on all the people who have been buying in bulk because it's affecting so many people who aren't fortunate enough to do so!"

Her post has now been shared over 30,000 times and has 25,000 reactions.

Commenters have suggested supermarkets keep a few supplies in the back for people who need the products, such as the elderly.

While some supermarkets have brought in a four-pack per person rule to try and keep paper on the shelves, this isn't deterring people from going back into the store multiple times to stock up.

One person said she had also seen the effect of panic buying when a new mother couldn't find any baby wipes or even napkins in an Ellenbrook, Perth supermarket.

"I luckily had managed to nab 2 packs of wipes from a reject shop earlier and ended up giving the lady a pack of my wipes. Some people are so damn selfish," Kylie Patterson said.

Kleenex says they have staff working overtime to combat the toilet paper shortage.