Panic is more contagious than coronavirus | Jabbering Journo column

The tension is palpable as I stroll through the aisles of the local supermarket.

Friday, 13th March 2020, 11:45 am

To the naked eye it is calm, my fellow shoppers seem fairly normal.

There’s no actual running.

Everyone looks nonchalant.

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The panic lies just below the surface e as wide-eyed, normally sensible, individuals wheel trollies up to shelves emptying rapidly of certain items.

An expanse of white metal greets visitors to the toilet roll aisle, the tissues are gone, the usually ever-present hand soap vanished and the antiseptic wipes merely a memory.

Shoppers look distraught, haunted even, as they speed to the kitchen towel department, only to find a few remaining examples of top-price premium brand that only a brave few would stump up for - particularly if they only plan to use them for bottom-wiping purposes.

Meanwhile, online, bidet google searches are at all time high.

The panic is contagious, there’s no doubt, as we all get caught up in the ‘what if’.

All of this adds up to one thing - the world has gone mad.

Not, of course, that I am against sensible Covid-19 precautions.

But I can’t imagine in a dystopian post-pandemic world where only the strong and the cockroaches survive in the remnants of civilisation, an eight-pack of bog roll will be critical in your survival kit.

Baked beans maybe and matches would be high up on my list. (Note: these aisles are still well stocked)

Not scented tissues, green-tea flavoured hand wash or a bidet.

Yes, the coronavirus situation is very serious and while we have escaped relatively lightly here in Britain so far, it will probably get worse before it gets better.

But with supermarket chains largely assuring us they are well-stocked, we need to cease panicking, remember we are a community and that it is a community, not a individual households, that we will need to get through a worsening situation.

Having one house stocked with loo roll and others not is just pointless.

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