Why rational people are panic buying as coronavirus spreads


A customer holding a shopping cart filled with toilet and kitchen paper at a supermarket in Sydney, Australia, on March 4, 2020. — Bloomberg

The worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus is leading to some curious side effects: Store shelves are being stripped bare from Singapore to Seattle. Supermarkets in the UK have started rationing items.

In Hong Kong a delivery man was reportedly robbed at knife-point of hundreds of toilet-paper rolls. Australia has seen brawls break out at supermarkets prompting police to taser one man. And France effectively nationalised all production of face masks after people began depleting the supply.

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