I’m Not Afraid of Getting Sick. I’m Afraid of Starving.
Empty shelves, panic buying, and fear during the coronavirus pandemic will only make things worse
There’s an old picture of me on my grandma’s fridge. In it, I’m about eight years old at some kind of school function standing near the refreshments table and wearing corduroy Winnie the Pooh overalls with lots of pockets. I look pretty happy in this photo, but whenever I see it, it actually reminds me of a really sad time.
Just a few minutes before I was smiling up at the camera, I was sneaking around that refreshments table discreetly slipping as many crackers and pizza rolls and cookies as I could fit into my many pockets so that I would have something to eat later at home. For some years of my childhood, food was not a guaranteed part of everyday life. There were frequent days when I would open our refrigerator and cabinets and find nothing at all.
I’m a full-grown adult taking care of myself, and I haven’t had to worry about empty cupboards for a long time. But the recent onslaught of panic buying in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and seeing all of the photos and videos of empty shelves in grocery stores has sent me mentally hurtling back to the days when I was eight years old and so afraid of not having enough to eat that I was stuffing hot pizza rolls into my Winnie the Pooh overalls.
I’m not going to lie: I wasn’t really all that concerned about Covid-19 at first. I didn’t worry as it spread across the nation; I just kept washing my hands. As more and more celebrities came down with the illness, I rested assured that their access to premium health care would help them recover quickly. Even as the news bombarded us with cryptic warnings, social media bombarded us with conspiracy theories, and my mother bombarded me with frantic phone calls, I was cautious, but I wasn’t afraid.
That is until I saw how the stores were being quickly depleted of food and supplies.
#EmptyShelfies sent my mind into a spiral: What if the world ran out of food?
Many people are sharing photos and videos of spookily barren shelves and aisles, empty of not only cleaning supplies but…