Panic-buying during coronavirus pandemic will only help spread disease, B.C. expert warns

B.C.’s top health officials are calling for calm after recent episodes of so-called “panic buying” in the province over fears of the novel coronavirus, which one expert warns can only help in the spread of the disease.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix took time Saturday to make clear that there is no need to stockpile food or supplies, despite an increase in social distancing measures to help curb the pandemic.

“There are no shortages of goods,” Dix said, sharing similar assurances from the Retail Council of Canada. “What happens on shelves is a result of intense buying, and we are asking people to show moderation.”

Henry echoed Dix’s message, saying retailers have reassured the provincial government that supply chains are strong and shelves are being restocked with groceries and basic necessities.

“We need to be measured in our approach and get what we need,” she said, “but not to hoard and not to have anxiety-provoked purchasing.”

Dr. Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of British Columbia, had an even simpler way of conveying the message when speaking with Global News on Sunday.

“The world is not going to end if you don’t have any toilet paper,” he said.

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