OPINION

Loonacy in the face of coronavirus fear

The almost empty toilet paper shelves at a Eurobodalla Shire supermarket on March 5. A few rolls can be spied in the distance.

The almost empty toilet paper shelves at a Eurobodalla Shire supermarket on March 5. A few rolls can be spied in the distance.

The toilet paper loonacy of the past week has many of us shaking our heads in disbelief.

The stockpiling hysteria, perhaps fuelled by irresponsible shock jocks, social media rumour and the 21st Century affliction Fear Of Missing Out, began as something laughable. However, it's morphed into something much more concerning.

Shoppers coming to blows in the aisles and charges laid; a man reportedly Tasered by police after an aggressive grasp for loo roll...we're not only the laughing stock of the world and its meme-makers, we're tearing ourselves apart - and for what?

As other authorities have said previously - and will need to again, repeatedly, it seems - there is zero need to stockpile toilet paper as we face the concerns of coronavirus.

In fact, those people doing so are likely creating more damage than they somehow must feel they are preventing with their panicked shopping spree.

There are many in our community for whom bulk buying is not an option. Money can be hard to come by and so they limit themselves to the necessities, as and when they can afford them. Now those necessities are not available to our community's most vulnerable because greed and brain farts are running riot in the toiletries aisle.

As the World Health Organisation clearly points out, COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through goods manufactured in China or any country reporting cases.

There's understandable anxiety as we face a virus wreaking so much havoc to the world's peoples and economies. South Coasters could also be forgiven for their behaviour as we've been on edge for nearly three months now so it wouldn't take much to tip those anxieties over. Perhaps this is a release for those pent up energies and fears?

Regardless - stop it now please.

Some of us really do need toilet paper and tissues for our weekly shopping.

And if you need some additional perspective, it's estimated the coronavirus has a mortality rate of three per cent or less among those who contract it (not of the entire population). Three Australians have died since the virus began spreading across the globe around five weeks ago.

According to the ABS, influenza and pneumonia accounted for an average 258 deaths a month in 2018; diabetes 388 people a month; suicide around 253 a month.

Not to discount the obvious concerns and effects of COVID-19, but we have much more important issues on which to focus.