COVID-19 Hoarding Shows a Lack of Community Cohesion

Written By Anthony Daoud, Posted on March 18, 2020

COVID-19 has unleashed a tide of frenzy that has contributed to demonstrations of truly hysterical behavior. This shouldn’t be misinterpreted as a call to undermine the situation’s severity. Simply witnessing the Wuhan virus’ colossal toll on human life is enough to justify fear, let alone its economic impact and its pressure on the healthcare system. 

Most of Europe is on lock-down, Italy being hit by far the worst on the continent. So far, there are 35,713 cases and 2,978 deaths. Italy’s struggles have been largely aggravated by the healthcare system failure to account for the endless inundation of patients. In the country, seniors- those 65 years or older -compose 23% of the population, a tremendous number that has exacerbated the woes. 

There are approximately 5.9 million seniors living in Canada, far below the 23% threshold in Italy. Our smaller population and the efficacious measures already implemented by the provincial governments means Canada will likely be spared from a similar disaster to Italy. Prime Minister Trudeau, and his team, have also taken the appropriate steps to ensure the coronavirus is contained. 

Today, CBC reported Trudeau and Trump have agreed to restrict non-essential travel across the border as both countries try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus but  supplies will still flow between the two nations. Since supplies will be unobstructed, Canadians need to put an end to the grocery hoarding trend. Food, water, and toilet paper will not run out. 

Fear Levels

As aforementioned, the panic is justified. Sure other illnesses have led to more deaths, but the Chinese pandemic is rapidly spreading and poses a serious risk to the elderly and those with preexisting respiratory conditions. 

In this time of crisis, following the government instructions on isolation need to be followed. Québec Premier Francois Legault has outdone his fellow Premiers in his administration’s transparent and affirmative approach to handling the virus. As such, the Québec model is being replicated by other premiers throughout the country. 

While the young are less averse to suffering the virus’ worst outcomes, there is a commitment all Canadians share to protect the vulnerable. Hyper individualism coupled by a carefree subjective attitude can procure potentially fatal outcomes. The pandemic will address an uncomfortable, but much needed, introspection. Will Canadians continue to negate those in their communities in favour of short-sighted individualism or will they employ the appropriate measures to reduce harming others. 

In Chicago, some people opted to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in public despite the plea from public officials to remain home or, at the very least, practice social distancing. 

In Miami, thousands of college students are congregating during their spring break to party, regardless of the overt threat it poses. Some of the students admitted to CBS that inebriated euphoria and “partying” supersedes their health. Two others stated COVID-19 is being “blown out of proportion” and “there are other greater issues” respectively. 

Nevertheless, the partying is being overshadowed by a greater development: shoppers hoarding grocery store supplies. 

Grocery Hoarding 

Toilet paper panic buying has attracted the most attention in recent days. Bulk purchases have been so rampant that in Australia, the government has placed restrictions on the amount of supply customers could buy. Similarly, retailers in the United Kingdom are limiting the sales of hygiene products. 

More recently, a Kelowna couple was scrutinized for hoarding meat at their local Save-on-Foods grocery store. A video surfaced of the couple’s cart filled with a variety of packaged meats. This display of hysterical consumerism should be condemned because it is solely predicated on irrational fear without providing any consideration for others in the community, specifically the elderly, who are advised to remain at home. 

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The BC provincial government reassured its citizens that supply chains remain strong. On Saturday, the provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry added “It’s really a function of demand, and we don’t have an issue of not having enough supply”. Other health officials have stressed a “measured” approach to purchases. 

Communal Inclinations  

Humans are gregarious in nature, meaning we have an innate inclination to build communities. Only in recent memory has the family, church, and civil society come under assault by Critical Theory and Frankfurt School’s adherents who’s devilish ambiguity promises an idyllic future of “true freedom”. This perversion of order has stimulated the socio-cultural degradation ubiquitous in the West, hoping to emancipate the person from it’s communal role. Covid-19 will end. Supplies will remain. To finally cease the madness, we must reinstate thinking for the vulnerable in our community, principally when confronted with a pandemic that disproportionately affects the elderly. 

The consumerist hysteria has also obstructed prudential wisdom. Acting erratically prohibits one from executing an action based on proper judgement. In this case, the vulnerable, those who are at risk in visiting the grocery store, are being totally overlooked.  

Anthony Daoud

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