As the election nears and COVID-19 cases spike, experts are warning of another potential run on essential items at grocery stores. If predictions are correct, there will soon be a shortage of toilet paper, frozen foods and canned goods.
“I think that there are plenty of reasons for legitimate concern about disruptions,” Carnegie Mellon University President Baruch Fischhoff said.
“Between the pandemic that seems to be surging around the country, without a strong assurance that it’s being well controlled, and then there are people that are worried about some sort of unrest after the election.”
A poll from the public affairs firm, Rokk Solutions, found that 52% of Americans planned to stock up on groceries in October. The two most popular reasons for this decision were potential unrest following the election and the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“The uncertainty brewing this fall and winter, from how cold weather will affect COVID-19 to the election, is manifesting as fear over access to daily essentials. Concern is creeping up to levels not seen since spring,” Katie Denis of the Consumer Brands Association said.
A lack of essentials and a surge of COVID-19 cases will uniquely impact Black Americans. Earlier this year, the New Jersey based nonprofit, Move For Hunger, found that Black Americans were two times more likely to face hunger than white households. As it pertains to COVID-19, Black Americans were 2.6 times more likely to contract the virus and 4.7 times more likely to be hospitalized. Not to mention, it has been very difficult for many Black Americans to be tested for the virus. Unfortunately, these statistics emerge as the country reported more than 90,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in a day for the first time this year.
“There’s a broad swath of the American public that’s really aware of what’s going on with infection rates. What we see then is that worry and concern amongst the public follows hospitalization most closely,” Beth Redbird of Northwestern University said.
“During the pandemic, we’ve been seeing stockpiling, so we have the social proof component and we have a lot of scarcity. There’s nothing that makes people buy more than seeing the shelf empty,” Julio Sevilla of the University of Georgia added.
Photo: Getty Images