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The psychologist explains the purchase of panic in the toilet paper

The death toll from coronavirus is increasing by the minute, global equity markets are losing billions of dollars and Australia appears to be on the cusp of a recession.

But the takeaway key from the week’s news is that people are crazy about their toilet paper.

The virus has caused thousands of victims worldwide, but has yet to be classified as a pandemic, with cases in Australia apparently focusing on the return of cruise ships, quarantine areas and a nursing home.

Yet fear has swept the nation, materializing in a hysterical wave of panicked food supplies.

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Canned food, bleach and other essential household items have been torn but it is the empty shelves of toilet rolls that have captured the imagination of social media.

It was even rumored that a knife had been pulled into a battle for toilet paper reduction, while news sites from New York to London reported the toilet paper supermarket fight.

“Here are a few things and it’s therefore quite a complex problem,” clinical psychologist Dr Kn Knight told news.com.au.

“For whatever reason, and there may be some contributing factors, people are becoming quite anxious about COVID-19.”

Dr Knight, who is also president of the Australian Psychological Society, said the bizarre reaction is probably the result of worried consumers trying to appropriate an apparently defenseless endemic.

And he implored Australians to express their anxiety in a healthy way and instead focus on understanding the real dangers of the virus rather than unnecessary hysteria.

“If you are hearing about a virus that is causing a pandemic and killing people all over the world, if you hear the hype rather than the facts, then go” what will I do to protect myself? I could be stuck at home for a while, so I’ll make sure to stock up, “he said.

“Actually, of course, it is not necessary or at least certainly at this point. It is not an adequate response to the level of threat at the present time.”

Dr Knight says that both traditional and non-traditional media have a role to play in this.

Streem, a media monitoring group, released the data on Thursday revealing that the phrase “toilet paper” in coronavirus stories has increased by nearly 11,000% over the previous six weeks.

This type of dialogue contributed to the inappropriate response of a large part of the country to the real threat of the virus, he said.

Dr Knight says it’s okay for people to be a little anxious, but it’s important to proceed with a rational and well-informed response.

“And it’s really about sticking to the facts: accessing the website of the Department of Health or listening to the sources from which the fact came, not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed,” said Dr. Knight at news.com.au.

A Coles spokesman said the supermarket did not support the accumulation of goods and that the shelves were replenished regularly.

“Coles is committed to providing the best service to all Australians and during this challenged period it is committed to ensuring that all Australian communities have access to the products and services we all need. Coles wants to make sure that no matter where you live or how old you are, you have the same access as everyone else on your way. “

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Dr Gary Mortimer, Queensland University of Technology retail expert, said the shortage was exacerbated by the voluminous nature of some products and the inability of supermarkets to store them for long periods in warehouses.

“The challenge with toilet paper is that it comes in large, bulky packages and supermarkets can really only hold 150 to 200 packages in a corridor – those packages fill a corridor fairly quickly,” he explained.

“Since they hold very little toilet paper due to space restrictions, only 100 people are needed to enter and buy two packages instead of one, because suddenly the demand will increase by 100%.

“If you walk down the corridor of canned tuna you may see a couple of gaps but if you sell 200 packets of toilet paper, you will end up with an empty corridor that people think means a crisis without toilet paper anywhere. But there is toilet paper – it’s coming from the back door.

“They fill it up overnight and then run out at lunchtime.”

Ritchies Stores CEO Fred Harrison said that all of us have had a role to play in distilling panic.

“We need the public to be a little more responsible,” said the head of the supermarket in a statement given to news.com.au.

“We will not be isolated indoors for months: we will be able to go out and shop.

“There is no shortage of toilet rolls if people buy sensibly and there is absolutely no need for panic.

“Manufacturers can equip, but it takes time and it’s not something that can be fixed in 24 – 48 hours.”

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