With its origins in Wuhan, China, Covid 19, otherwise known as the Corona virus, has swept through the world at breakneck speed. It is largely believed the virus came from infected bats illegally sold at wet fish markets. Once the virus jumped from animal host to human host, it soon spread and has now reached every corner of the globe. What was initially seen as China’s problem has quickly turned into a scary reality for the rest of us. From the UK we look on at the tragedies unfolding in Italy and Spain, who are currently suffering the worst effects in Europe, knowing that very soon we will be in the same frightening position.
What we have seen in the UK is a knee jerk response to what is developing throughout Europe and many other parts of the world. Mass hysteria has created the need to stockpile in preparation for the impending apocalypse. However, this has been done despite the implicit instruction of the Government and the supermarkets, who insist that there are no food shortages and people should not be alarmed. In Italy, where the worst effects of the virus in Europe can be seen, there is no longer such panic buying. Italians, whose mortality rates are growing at a terrifying pace, and have recently outstripped those of China, have instead kept calm. They have listened to state advice, and only bought what is necessary. There are no reports of food shortages and supermarket shelves are fully stocked.
The same, ashamedly so, cannot be said for the supermarkets here in the UK. Basic shopping items such as bread, milk, baked beans, meat and toilet paper, to name but a few, have become scarcities that in these unprecedented times now seem to be more valuable than gold. But can you really blame people for reacting in this way? Many have bought excessively out of fear. They feel their actions are justified. Buying for a month means many do not need to return in a week or two, thus reducing the risk of spreading the virus. For others it is the fear of seeing empty shelves. They think that buying in such large quantities may be necessary before it all runs out and they have nothing to feed their family.
However, the actions of those who have ignored the pleas of the Government and the supermarkets have created extra stress and anxiety for others who, in addition to trying to come to terms with the worrying consequences of this deadly virus, now cannot source basic food items. Their ignorance, selfishness and stupidity has led to empty shelves and carnage at the tills. Draconian measures of imposing limits have created situations where staff have been confronted by angry customers. It is a shame it has come to this. It was thought the ‘Great’ British public were better. It’s an embarrassment. It’s time to take a deep breath, stay calm and start again. Listen to the advice! Pubs, restaurants, the high street, theatres and gyms are all closing down. However, the supermarkets are not. And the food is not going to run out. It’s time to start thinking of others. It’s time to stick together. This is no longer China’s problem, it is our problem. The worst is yet to come and when it does we need to conduct ourselves in a far better manner, collectively, than we have done thus far.