COVID-19 and the world's reaction to toilet paper

COVID-19 and the world's reaction to toilet paper
Photo credit: Alvan Catraz/Twitter, VCOSS/Facebook, Getty.

Panic buying caused by COVID-19 has officially hit the world stage.

The impact of the coronavirus truly hits home when your local supermarket runs out toilet paper.

When the first confirmed New Zealand case of COVID-19 was revealed a week ago, some New Zealanders went into panic mode and rushed to supermarkets to stock up on supplies.

Now a usual sight in some supermarkets.
Now a usual sight in some supermarkets. Photo credit: Getty.

The toilet paper phenomenon has hit hard in Australia too. On Saturday, a violent brawl broke out in a Sydney Woolworths over a single pack of toilet paper, prompting a callout by the local police. 

This panic has spread to the US, where a fight was filmed between two women squabbling over a pack of toilet rolls. 

Toilet paper has become a treasured commodity. In an arcade machine in an Australian mall, rolls of toilet paper filled the machine instead of toys.

The public's extreme reaction in buying toilet paper has quickly become a meme with people making light of the public's reaction of panic. 

But there is a more concerning side to the public's stockpiling.

On Wednesday, the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) released a statement pleading people not stockpile household goods. 

"You know who can't 'panic buy' and stockpile household goods? People on low incomes, living week to week on very little cash. Runs on essential items hurt people in poverty.

So, please: stop and think about others before you empty out the supermarket shelves," VCOSS wrote. 

The reaction the post received was heartbreaking. One person claiming to be from a "large, low-income household" said VCOSS' message needs to be heard by everybody.

"People really need to stop and think. Do I need 99 rolls of toilet paper and 76 bags of pasta? No...leave some for the people who have yet to get paid or struggling day-to-day," they said.

"Look after each other rather than creating an anti-coronavirus fortress out of toilet paper," replied another.