Toilet Paper Is Flying Off the Shelves. But (Mostly) Not In the US

Here's the real deal.


Many families have noticed that certain everyday household items seem to be harder to come by now. Finding hand sanitizer getting hard to find, now, it seems and toilet paper is flying off the shelves?

These are the stories we hear in the middle of a coronavirus panic, but is this last one true? Are people really panic buying things like toilet paper, and if so, why? Let’s investigate.

With coronavirus cases popping up more frequently and hitting closer to home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued some recommendations to Americans. The CDC has documentation available on What You Can Do to Keep Yourself and Your Family Healthy. In their recommendations are things like washing your hands and avoiding going to work when you’re sick. The CDC has also issued some other suggestions for people who are at a “higher risk” where it suggests stocking up on “essential supplies,” and this is where the panic seems to come in.

“Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time,” the CDC writes in their recommendations for high-risk people, and one of those items to have on hand is toilet paper. Its recommendations are made, so if a high-risk person lives in an area where there is a known coronavirus risk to the community, they don’t need to leave the house.

Good advice, however, the general public took this advice as meant for them, and people started buying toilet paper in bulk, and that’s why toilet paper is flying off the shelves. And yes, this seems to be accurate, at least for some areas of the world where the coronavirus is active.

Trying to find toilet paper for a reasonable price on Amazon is a challenge; Costco has placed a limit on how many packages of their bulk-sized toilet paper people can purchase at one time.

While there are some gastrointestinal symptoms due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, most people present with flu-like symptoms such as fever and runny nose. The bulk buying of toilet paper is completely unnecessary, unlike hand soap, which makes sense because that’s how we will prevent the spread of the virus in the first place.

So, do you need to stock up on toilet paper or try and spend an arm and a leg since toilet paper is flying off the shelves? No, maybe have enough for a week, as one usually would, but there’s no need to fill your garage with packs of the bathroom paper. Also, if you live in the United States, for the most part, there is not a toilet paper shortage. So, chill out! (For now.)