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Toilet paper shortage at Walmart, Target

Chiquita Thursby and Yordano Tesfailasce couldn’t believe what they saw when they arrived at Costco Friday morning.    

“We saw the line around the block and we thought the world had gone mad,” Thursby said of the crowd gathered outside the store in Lawndale, California.  

They had to wait an hour for two cases of bottled water, the most water they were allowed to buy. And paper towels and toilet tissue were sold out. Suddenly, the crowds, the empty shelves, the rationing made the coronavirus much more than headlines.

“Before it was a scare,” Thursby said. “Now it’s real.”

At stores across the U.S., shelves are being picked bare. The coronavirus is spurring panicked shoppers to stock up on products ranging from cleansing wipes to peanut butter as they prepare to hunker down in the midst of the growing pandemic.

“They’re acting like this is the end of the world,” said Lynette Young, a nurse in Los Angeles, who was amused by the rush as she bought ginger ale and cleaning supplies at a local Walmart. “If they regularly stocked up, they wouldn’t have this problem.”

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Costco experienced lines that stretched for blocks as shoppers stocked up in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak

Shoppers decide to brave crowds 

Health officials have asked people to maintain a safe distance from each other to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has caused the deaths of 41 Americans and led President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency Friday afternoon. 

But shoppers are apparently willing to brave a crowd if it means immediately getting  their hands on necessities, instead of waiting for an online order.

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