What To Buy Now in Case of Another Lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted shortages in food and supplies that haven’t been seen since the Depression era. It also shifted, practically overnight, trends in consumer buying behaviors, turning previously mundane items into hot commodities.
Toilet paper, cleaning supplies and nonperishable foods flew off store shelves in the pandemic’s early days while, in the weeks and months that followed, disruptions in manufacturing and the supply chain contributed to shortages among lumber, appliances, aluminum cans, meat and even coins.1
Supplies of some of these items, like toilet paper, have rebounded in many parts of the world, but other staples, like hand soap, can still be hard to come by. It remains to be seen whether a “second wave” of COVID-19 will hit in the coming months, prompting additional lockdowns.
However, in the U.S., the government appears to be preparing citizens for the worst, even though indicators that track COVID-19-like illness and the percentage of laboratory tests that are positive for SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — have decreased nationally since mid-July, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, also stated that Americans shouldn’t expect to return to normal anytime soon, even if a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine is released. “If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to COVID, it’s going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021,” he said in a news release.3
With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to be prepared in the event you find yourself quarantined, isolated or living in an area with strict lockdowns in place that trigger another round of panic buying.
Following are some of the most important items to stock up on now, but first it’s important to understand the psychological reasons why lockdowns may contribute to panic buying and increased hoarding — even when it’s not necessary.
Perceptions of Scarcity Trigger Panic Buying
In a letter to the editor of the journal Psychiatry Research, researchers noted that public health emergencies have prompted panic buying, or increased buying behaviors, since ancient times.4 There are some psychological explanations, including the fact that a perception of scarcity is linked with panic buying and hoarding, along with feelings of insecurity that trigger people’s desire to collect things.
At the same time, a pandemic can contribute to the perception that you’re losing control over your environment, and along with it induce fear and anxiety. When you feel you can’t control the pandemic, the ability to control your purchases and collect necessities may help bring back a sense of control.
Meanwhile, the stockpiling of goods may be perceived as a method of preparing for and coping with pandemics, and when people see others in their community panic buying, “people tend to indulge to buy madly,” they wrote, adding that it may be a form of herd instinct.
That being said, it’s often the case that people overestimate the risk of danger and underestimate the options for relief, and this lack of trust and belief that resources could be exhausted also triggers panic buying. Importantly, sensationalized movies, media reports and fear-mongering also contribute to unnecessary panic, which is why sometimes turning off the news is your best recourse for staying sane:5
“Sometimes people get threatening perception from the media reports that people are buying more excessively than before; there is a possibility of a global crisis. Sometimes, the media reports the crisis in a sensational way which raises more panic. Another important factor is the way the viruses or any pandemic has been portrayed in the movies. People tend to learn from them and try to imitate whenever they are faced with pandemics.”
Stock Up on These Eight Items First
The items that follow are important for health and hygiene. Some of them quickly became in short supply when the recent lockdowns were imposed, while others may help you stay well and avoid infectious diseases. All of them can also be stored for longer periods, making them ideal staples during a lockdown.
1.Air Purifiers — Air purifiers have proven health benefits,6 and in the case of COVID-19 may help to remove some of the virus from the air. Air purifiers with a HEPA filter remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of .3 microns.
In one study of air purifiers in dental clinics, where saliva is frequently aerosolized, the use of air purifiers reduced employee exposure to aerosols by 80% to 95% and researchers concluded, “It is highly advisable to use air purifiers as an easy-to-use, portable, inexpensive, and high-efficiency precaution measure.”7
2.Toilet Paper or a Bidet and Feminine Hygiene Products — As we saw in March 2020, toilet paper is a popular item to hoard during lockdowns and many stores still have limits on how much you can purchase at once. Picking up an extra package or two when you shop can help you avoid an uncomfortable situation later if supplies once again become scarce.
Installing a bidet, which works by aiming a small stream of water around your anus to rinse off any material that’s left after you’ve had a bowel movement, is another option — one that has the added benefit of being more sustainable than toilet paper.
Online searches for bidets are on the rise, and increased 304% from March to April 2020,8 which means they become a highly sought-after item if another lockdown happens and toilet paper supplies dwindle once again.
Shortages of disposable menstrual products have also been reported, not only in the U.S. but also in the U.K., Fiji and India.9 In addition to stocking up on organic cotton feminine hygiene products, you may want to consider reusable options like organic cloth pads and menstrual cups.
3.Meat — Tyson, JBS USA, Smithfield Foods and Cargill Inc. control the majority of U.S. meat and poultry, most of which gets processed in a limited number of large plants. Because the processing is concentrated into a small number of large facilities, closures have serious effects on the meat
Article from LewRockwell