COVID-19 panic-buying leaves most vulnerable citizens without essentials, nurse says
TORONTO -- Health-care workers and residents are voicing concerns about people who are elderly or homeless and unable to shop due to the COVID-19 panic-buying happening across the Greater Toronto Area.
Roxie Danielson, a Toronto nurse, said she’s been receiving calls from clients too afraid to shop in their local stores for essential items because of the long-line ups and crowded grocery stores.
“Panic-buying is making people who are already vulnerable and have underlying chronic illnesses unable to shop because they are afraid of the crowds,” Danielson told CTV News Toronto Friday.
"I’ve heard from people going to grocery stores and leaving because they are unable to wait in the lines for an extended period of time, they can’t wait for over an hour in line.”
People feeling anxious about the virus were lined outside grocery stores before they even opened Friday morning, in order to get their hands on all their essentials before the afternoon rush.
At this time, provincial health authorities have said that it’s not necessary to stockpile given the current situation, but shoppers admit that the long lines and images of empty shelves have compelled them to shop.
Public health officials are urging people to take extra care around older Canadians, who are most at risk of developing COVID-19 complications. Health officials have found that seniors are most susceptible to dying from the virus.
Unfortunately, Danielson said that panic-buying is preventing this population from actually accessing simple grocery items in a safe manner.
Danielson said people that people who have long-term, chronic issues like diabetes and lung diseases are most susceptible.
“Panic-buying could actually be making things worse and putting the most vulnerable people at a greater risk,” she said. “It’s becoming difficult for people to find hand-sanitizer, and the people who need it the most are not getting it.”
Danielson is recommending people to reach out to others if they need help.
"People need to know that they are not alone," she said.
Danielson also voiced concern about people who are low-income or homeless, and might not have access anymore to cheaper or on-sale items because they are out of stock.
“I’m feeling worried and nervous about it getting into the shelter system, and of drop-in centres for meals closing down,” she said.
“I’m worried about the people being forced to self-isolate at home because they are vulnerable, we need to be checking on people.”
Panic-buying across the GTA Friday
Many people, who were just hoping to buy their normal weekly groceries Friday, were having trouble amid the chaotic panic-buying.
Metro grocery staff told CTV News Toronto that orders are coming daily, but the products are picked off shelves as quickly as they are able to stock them.
Some people on social media reported that some places in the city were relatively calm Friday.