Panic-Buying and Traveling During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Panic-Buying and Traveling During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Phillip Lemus, Opinion Editor

Pandemics have always been common throughout our world’s history, killing people left and right. What’s so different about this Coronavirus pandemic?

The level of greed throughout our global economy and society has created a far greater threat to daily life on this planet. It’s evident enough that in the modern 21th Century, we have more resources at our disposal by more than tenfold.

Our perception of pandemics have also been characterized by this weird apocalyptic attitude, driving most of the needless panic-buying throughout the nation for supplies and survival necessities. Even though most stores repeatedly say to their customers that they’re going to restock and therefore they shouldn’t be panic-buying, people keep buying.

Despite the government’s explicit warning against travel, an idea brought forth in order to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases, people still travel nationwide because they think it’s OK. This is our reality in America: a country whose people aren’t quite capable of constraining themselves, and as a result, there are people that continually spread an unknown virus nationwide along with the fear that comes with a widening pandemic.

Map of nations with cases of coronavirus.

Surprisingly, as this journalist works from home, his own parents ended up being a prime example of–rightfully–America’s irrationality. When this nation finally pivoted toward staying indoors and attempting to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as strongly advised by the CDC, my parents went ahead and decided to take advantage of this unique situation. So, on what was simply an impulsive decision, my mother and step-father chose to take a road trip along the coast, because they just wanted to get out of the house. I’m ashamed to say that I was dragged along too, and yet our journey highlighted a few of the sad behaviors that are rampant during this pandemic.

They washed their hands most of the time. They got to-go meals along the way from restaurants and hotels. They bought as much as they could during their grocery trip at home. As of now, they have two cases of toilet paper–though we were already out of toilet paper, we certainly didn’t need that much. They bought yogurt, snacks, soft drinks, sandwich meat, etc.–all perishables destined not to last long at all, nor were they real sources of food. It’s worrying to witness.

Suitcase with labels of viruses and diseases to emphasize how viruses can travel all over because of people travelling as well.

I understand that these behaviors won’t last, but it’s not a surprising effect to witness at all. America was NOT prepared either for the coronavirus itself nor the possibility of the virus altering lifestyles so abruptly. It’s time we all realize, that for this pandemic, all of our actions matter because any further spread of the virus would be catastrophic, not only for the reason that our healthcare system would be overwhelmed with the magnitude of cases, but also the reality of this currently incurable virus infecting the most vulnerable people of the nation. We need to stay home.