Hand sanitizer, dust masks, and toilet paper seem to be the items most in demand
CLARK COUNTY — Head to pretty much any store in Clark County on this Monday and you’ll find plenty of people. But don’t expect to find much in the way of hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, or bottled water.
Coronavirus Prepper Fever, it seems, has hit Southwest Washington full force.
With cases of COVID-19 surpassing 90 in the United States, and six deaths blamed on the virus in Washington state, many people are taking precautions in case they need to stay home.
At the Costco on Andresen Road, signs warned shoppers that toilet paper was nowhere to be found, while employees apologized for a lack of bottled water.
At Harbor Freight at Vancouver Plaza, empty shelves greeted anyone hoping to score a prized dust mask or rebreather. It was the same at any other store. Nitrile and latex gloves were also hot commodities, though they could be found.
Despite the impossibility of finding masks anywhere, this reporter didn’t see anyone actually wearing them, though a door checker at Costco said he had seen a few.
Experts say most masks will do nothing to prevent you from catching coronavirus, unless it’s rated N95, though they may help to prevent you from spreading the disease to others.
Barring a letup in the apparent public wariness over this novel coronavirus, hand sanitizer may replace D.B. Cooper as one of the hardest things to find in the Pacific Northwest.
Even rubbing alcohol was sold out at the Walmart stores in Battle Ground and Woodland, as people resorted to making their own hand sanitizers out of recipes found online.
It should be noted that medical professionals say the alcohol content of your hand sanitizer needs to be at least 60 percent in order to be effective. Anything less could fail to kill the virus and leave you vulnerable.
One shopper wondered if hand sanitizer was now a “controlled substance” due to the alcohol it contained.
The rush to stock up may not be without merit, according to experts. Should you be unlucky enough to contract this new disease, or know someone who does, you may be required to remain home until you’re deemed to be clear of the virus.
On Sunday, shoppers reported lines to the back of the store at many area Costco stores. Things weren’t quite as bad on Monday, but employees were still scrambling to clear out empty boxes, especially from aisles with ready-to-eat meals.
How about you? Have you decided to stock up? If so, what items did you get and why? Or do you think this is all overblown and something that will blow over soon? Sound off in the comments below.