Panic buying spreads across the US with worried shoppers stocking up on supplies as FDA says up to a MILLION Americans could be tested for coronavirus by the end of the week

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
By Paul Martin

Panic buying gripped supermarkets and wholesale stores across the country Monday amid the deadly virus
It comes as the FDA declared it could begin testing for up to a million patients by the end of this week
As shoppers stacked cars full of water and hand sanitizer, the surgeon general warned against overreaction
‘Caution, preparedness, but not panic,’ Surgeon General Jerome Adams said during a stop in Connecticut
More than 100 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the US, including six deaths in Washington state
Today the global number of infected surged to more than 90,000, including 3,117 deaths, mainly in China

3 March 2020

Panic buying has spread across the US from New Jersey to San Francisco with worried shoppers emptying shelves to stock up on supplies amid a surge in deadly coronavirus cases.

New diagnoses in several states pushed the tally of COVID-19 cases past 100, and New Hampshire reported its first patient Monday, raising the total of affected states to 11. Seattle officials announced four more deaths, bringing the total in the US to six.

The recent boom in numbers has brought chaotic scenes to supermarkets throughout the country with shoppers lining up with trolleys overflowing with bundles of toilet paper, racks of water bottles and shelves cleaned out of hand sanitizing gel.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday warned it could begin testing up to a million people by the end of the week, as the global total of confirmed cases soared to more than 90,000 today, including 3,117 deaths.

As shoppers backed up in Costco wholesale outlets across the nation, the Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged the public not to go overboard in its reaction to the contagion.

‘Caution, preparedness, but not panic,’ Adams said during Monday’s stop in Connecticut. ‘That’s how we’re going to successfully navigate this coronavirus situation.’

Adams and state Public Health Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell urged the public to take precautions such as washing hands, elbow ‘bumping’ instead of hand shaking and getting flu shots.

They said flu shots would decrease the number of people hospitalized because of flu and free up space, if needed, to treat patients sickened by the coronavirus.

Health officials had previously warned that cases were bound to increase across the US as more tests were run, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was widely panned for lagging in distributing the tests, many of which turned out to be faulty.

In an effort to expand testing, a number of private companies, states and research institutions have been given authorization to make their own tests.

FDA Commissioner Dr Stephen Hahn said that by the end of this week, he expected that enough tests will be distributed to screen one million people in the US.

But it comes after the sudden uptick in cases in Washington – which had not reported a second case until this weekend – suggested that the virus may have been spreading in communities there for weeks.

Up until now, the US testing capacity was only between 75,000 and 100,00 kits, Dr Hahn said during a Monday press briefing.

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