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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.    

“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, on Friday morning.  

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.

It’s a story that continued to play out Saturday and Sunday as shoppers went from store to store to find the supplies and food they wanted to have on hand. 

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