"throughput of goods is in excess of the usual Christmas peak"
Um, calm down ?
The zombie apocalypse is not yet upon us. Wait for a few months until the death toll exceeds a million, then it will be time to panic.
Morrisons has slowed its conveyor belt of tech changes to avoid any IT crashes as British shoppers continue a coronavirus-inspired panic-buying spree. Amid the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the UK supermarket giant yesterday froze non-essential tech changes, ranging from feature deployments to platform upgrades …
Talking of the gas "going off" (pun intended)... I've always got a stock of Coleman fuel in case of emergencies. I've also always got several litres of lab-grade isopropanol in my cupboard (everyone's favourite solvent). Perfect for dissolving thermal compound, among many other things. A 70% solution is essentially what most alcohol hand gels are made of (barring the jelly-making bit), and it's vastly cheaper than even the "normal" price of such stuff. You don't need to panic-buy if you're usually well stocked anyway... you never know when those zombies/velociraptors might be coming.
NO YOU FOOL!!!! THE TIME TO PANIC IS NOW!!!!!
How can you calmly set a date for panicking? Panicking is a spontaneous reaction.
If it helps my local Asda has plenty of everything in stock. Well it did, I panicked and bought £15 worth of coffee.
I shamelessly panicked in a traditional British fashion. I bought another box of tea. Well, the tin was almost empty, what else would you expect me to drink? God forbid that the supermarkets run out of that, what would the world come to?
</Colonial British General voice>
TheProf Well it did, I panicked and bought £15 worth of coffee.
I panicked, and bought a loofah, a copy of the Chelmsford-area phone book for 1992, 3 satsumas and half-a-hundredweight of jellied eels.
I don't do well under pressure.
I panicked when I happened to be picking up a couple of bottles of screen wash at a well-known German discount supermarket. Ended up coming home with a pillar drill and a bench grinder as well.
Oh, hang on, that’s not panic is it? It’s fairly normal for Aldi-Lidl-di-Aldi-Lidl-di-dee.
Anyway, what’s this COVID-19 thing that everyone is banging on about?
(“COVID-19 too-loo-rye-ay. COVID-19 too-loo-rye-ay. Now you’re full grown. Now you have shown. COOO 19...”)
I get my coffee in 50lb bags for about 75 bucks. The beans are still green, so they last for a long time in a cool, dark place. Maybe I have to roast 'em myself ... but at least we can survive the next earthquake without worrying about it too much.
 Wait ... aren't I supposed to be panicking about TheNextBigOne? Or was that wildfires? Global warming? Trump getting re-elected? Coffee shortages? One tends to lose track of natural disasters when one isn't a slave to the
entertainmentnews industry ...
The best time to panic is long past. I did my panic buying back in January. The checkout girl was surprised by the number tins of soup I had bought. When she asked why and I told her I was panic buying she just said "really?" and gave me a confused look.
Our favourite brand is on offer this week at Famila, so we will probably buy 2.5Kg, as we usually do, when it is on offer... I don't see a need to suddenly buy huge amounts of everything.
Interestingly, the local supermarkets were all fully stocked on Saturday, but about 200KM south in the Ruhrpott, the shelves were being stripped bare by "hamster" buyers. I love the German term, Hamsterkäufer (hamster buyers) and hamstern (to hamster), sounds much more cute than panic buying.
I did an online shopping order the other day to "stock up", so to speak. Nothing major, just so we can actually have some sort of food if me and the fiancee need to self isolate. Also running out of toilet paper sucks and people seem to have gone crazy buying it.
People are panic buying toilet roll apparently because if you're stuck inside isolating it's the last thing you'd want to run out of (other than food) and you don't want to be mixing with lots of potentially infected people in a supermarket to get more.
You can get a slot? We can't because their IT upgrade happening on th 9th prevents any bookings after the 9th and there are also no slots up to the 9th.
This is a recurring theme and will cost them my Delivery Pass come renewal (which because of the upgrade I have to manually approve after the 9th)
You've obviously not seen the state of the stores in Australia then. They've been stripped bare of various items (bog roll, flour, beans, noodles) with fights, people raiding pallets as they're delivered and all sorts of other bizarre behaviour.
The wife is in her 80's with COPD (serious lung problems) and my health isn't brilliant and we both fall into the category of being at high risk of dying from coronavirus. As we are pensioners we don't really NEED to go out other than the weekly grocery shop. As soon as I saw what was happening in China I made an educated guess what would happen in the UK, so we stocked up on supplies back in January. Not panic buying, just a logical measured response for people in our circumstances, we didn't even cause a blip on supermarket shelf stocks. Short of an emergency we don't need to go out or mix with anyone for at least six months if necessary.
It is just a matter of risk mitigation for us. Hopefully the epidemic will have peaked and be well on its way down again before we need to emerge from our self imposed isolation. I feel sorry for those pensioners with similar poor health who either can't afford to build up a big stock of supplies or have left it too late now panic buying is setting in and the risk of infection increasing by the day.
Same here. I'm recovering from my last dose of Chemo and have a severely impacted immune system. I have a freezer full of food, make my own bread and get milk delivered so I should be ok but you never know. I began stocking up like the OP in January. I have been in 'self isolation' now for almost a month and it sucks big time believe me but it is a whole lot better than the alternative.
Oh, and I have plenty of bog rolls so I'm posting AC as I really don't want any neredowells breaking in just to nick a few.
My mum has severely reduced lung function, and to cap it all, her regular specialist appointments and too-frequent inpatient stays are at Arrowe Park hospital (you know, the one on the Wirral where the government sent all the COVID-19 quarantine patients). I'm a little worried for her.
My wife just started a new immunosuppressant Multiple Sclerosis drug (Ocrevus - the side effects make "fun" reading) told to avoid sick people generally and definetely for 2 weeks after the infusion, but then they ask her to come in for an outpatients appt 10 days after her infusion......really hoping neither of us catch it as it could kill her (though there are seemingly drugs they can give her which reverse the immuno suppressive effects of the drug, however boosting immunity makes MS progress faster)
ALDI's checkout guy looked sick as hell with the flu or something similar, he clearly shouldn't have been at work, just hope its not corona virus or a tonne of folk are going to get it due to his refusal to take time off / company idiotic policies
I spotted my neighbour forming a human conveyor belt shifting 4 family packs of loo role. He had the decency of looking embarrassed when I asked if he was preparing for the virus. He also probably fears I'll break in and nick some when a call of nature demands it. Not to worry though, I grew up in a poor house hold so I've had plenty of experience re-purposing the stunner, the local news rag, as bum fodder.
Count your blessings ... if you are fortunate enough to hang out with the little germ bags, and you are generally in good health, you have a nicely functioning, well exercised immune system. Even if you do manage to come down with this bug (against all the odds), you'll survive just fine. You might not even notice you have it.
You’ve made me feel better already. I’ve got two teachers in the house, one uni student, and one who works in a busy shop. All those viri laden places that my super carriers spend their days in and then bring it all home, for years, yet i somehow survive well despite a little bit of COPD. There’s hope for me yet..l hope.
"Short of an emergency we don't need to go out or mix with anyone for at least six months if necessary."
I do that normally - usually to take advantage of special offers. They are better investments than the current meagre interest rate on my life-savings. When my local Waitrose announced it was closing - I stocked up on their own brand items that I like. Just bought a few every time I was shopping. Overdid the toilet paper - a belated calculation suggests the accumulated stock-pile will last me 10 years.
The wife is in her 80's with COPD (serious lung problems) and my health isn't brilliant
Yup - my folks are in the same boat. And can I get hand sanitizer for them? Can I fuck. I can't even get antibacterial hand soap delivered to them (keeps being substituted). So, yeah, my deepest thanks go out to all the socially irresponsible panic buyers out there.
Society? My arse.
Honestly, peoples behavior and the risks its inflating for my family are causing me to seriously reassess how much money I'm prepared to pay for this "society" or "community" people bang on about, once the virus clears through.
(I live in the US) I needed to buy some 99% isopropyl alcohol yesterday for a project I'm working on, and was pissed to find all of the stores in my area are completely out of anything above 50%. I checked Amazon, and they have it -- but only at hugely inflated prices from third-party sellers.
But hearing about stores running out of things more widely muted my anger a bit. If all I have to worry about is being unable to buy IPA, then I think I have to count myself lucky. At least I don't need a good dust mask right now.
There's only so much the sheeple can stockpile, when every available space is full in their homes the shops will be emptier for the rest of us! This kind of activity really screws with supply chain modelling though, there will be a lull in sales when the stockpilers stop buying non-perishables - so what quantities should Morrisons, Tescos etc order in 6 weeks time? It will play havoc given that most supermarkets have little to no stockroom space these days and order on a just-in-time basis.
My local Asda say they order on a just-in-time basis, but then get shorted on deliveries.
If only there was a way to improve on traditional stock management by the Mk1 eyeball and brain. Some...device..that could accurately track sales and stock, and do that fiendishly difficult logistics programming.
"Some...device..that could accurately track sales and stock, [...]"
There was a supermarket branch whose local IT had a problem such that they couldn't order stock on that day. Not a problem - the central IT system catered for that contingency by delivering the same as that day the previous week. The stock duly arrived - including the large consignment of lemons for the previous week's Shrove Tuesday.
It will play havoc given that most supermarkets have little to no stockroom space these days and order on a just-in-time basis.
Ah yes, "Just-In-Time inventorying". I remember when that concept first came to my attention some 30+ years ago (some now-defunct department store chain was pushing it onto their suppliers for EDI and such). Even back then my thought was it would be all well and good until some piece of the delivery chain broke. And now it's happening (well, not the first time in those 30 years, just very noticeable now). Not such a disaster when you're building Toyotas, but everyplace else, not so good.
My food shopping is usually on a 'just-in-time' basis, which is fine until we have a few mm of snow and the shelves clear of milk and bread.
So weeks ago I decided to increase our current stock of such essentials to give us at least 3 days cover.
My point is that, apart from the strange compulsion to panic over bog-rolls, a significant increase in food buying might just be many people realising the same as me - JIT assumes an unaffected supply chain.
I've found myself reflecting that it's not that nuts, if you may find yourself having to stay indoors for a fortnight then making sure you've got enough of the basics to tide you over for a while (at least until you can organise some deliveries, which might take a couple of days) seems reasonable. Hence dried pasta and tinned foods being a little low right now, before there's actually a problem. Expect stocks to rebound now the rush is over.
Unless they're buying things they don't eat if they can help it, because the things they actually want have already run out, in which case it'll sit at the back of a cupboard for years and eventually get thrown out. Unless, of course, enough isolation is needed that people will actually use up their supplies before they dare to go shopping again.
There's only so much the sheeple can stockpile, when every available space is full in their homes the shops will be emptier for the rest of us!
Normally, yes, but with stuff where the whole world is going crazy (sanitizer gels for instance) then it may be months before there's any on the shelves long enough for normal folk to pick any up with the weekly shop.
Society really isn't what the left tell us it is. Evidence for that abounds and in all honesty, has passed the point where the pretense is sustainable. It's time for a better vision, with a lot less state dependence and a lot more individual responsibility.
"Or the usual spivs to start filling ebay with bog rolls at insanely marked up prices [...]"
Talking of ebay - many sellers use copious amounts of bog roll paper as a lightweight soft filler for fragile items. It's amazing how such contents of a medium sized box will create a veritable mountain when unpacked on the floor.
Even if it kills me!
So far, in my neck of the woods, I have seen little real panic buying but that may be because I live in the boonies, social media here is waving at a tractor as it drives by.
I did get in three cases of the local wine last week though so at least I have a tipple or two as long as no visitors turn up expecting entertainment.
'BBC reports titles seemed to suggest that - until the article revealed that it was Australia where people were literally fighting over shelf contents.'
Live in Perth, WA and can confirm you won't find a loo-roll anywhere in a shop in Oz. All the supermarkets are completley sold out - and there have been in-store fights over the remaining supplies in Sydney. As many have said, it gives you the sniffles - not the shits! And not only loo-rolls - also pasta, rice, tinned foods, long-life milk - anything that lasts. Empty shelves everywhere. Crazy!!
So far, in my neck of the woods, I have seen little real panic buying but that may be because I live in the boonies
Try living with the southerners. I genuinely started looking out for zombies on my way home from Asda the other day, because they way they're shopping you'd think the zombie apocalypse has started.
No paracetomol, no antibacterial soap, no antibacterial gel, no wound dressings of any type (I mean WTF?!), bog roll is an endangered species, Heinze soup or beans are harder to pick up than a supermodel (thanks to my geordie ex-finance friend for that one).... they've gone full retard out there.
Scotland has gone bonkers also (then again locally its become a hotspot for southern englanders looking for country lifestyle but without missing too many amenities - cue them writing off cars everytime it snows)
ALDI had a special buy on bogroll (though it was price hiked and heavily scented stuff, I just bought my usual 3ply but in smaller packs then the normal 2 x 9 packs I buy every fortnight), replaced a few long life things we'd used but not remembered to replace yet
"Those that are panicking have failed to understand the issue."
Right now, out of over 101000 cases, over 55000 have recovered and 3466 have died, that's about a 3% death rate on par with flu.
The CDC in the US reckon on between 20000-50000 deaths from flu for the year 2019-2020 in the US alone and that is with tested vaccinations and well known treatments, the same susceptible groups are at risk of death from normal flu.
Covid 19 is a variant of the same virus that caused SARS. Google the same details I have.
...has nowhere near a 3% death rate. Neither does COVID-19. The actual number of infections will be a lot higher than the number of cases so dividing the number of deaths by the number of cases (aka the crude CFR) will always overestimate the death rate except very early on in the epidemic before people have had chance to die of it. The infection fatality rate is the important number, that's your overall risk of dying if you get infected although it doesn't account for age and, as you correctly stated, this kills the same people that seasonal flu does.
The WHO report from mid-February estimates the IFR at 0.3% - 1% : https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200219-sitrep-30-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=3346b04f_2
A report based on data from the Diamond Petri Dish cruise ship puts the IFR at 0.91% - 1.2% overall depending on sampling and 7.3% - 9% for the elderly, who are the main clientele of cruise ships : https://cmmid.github.io/topics/covid19/severity/diamond_cruise_cfr_estimates.html
As for flu, well: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/1/12-0124-techapp1.pdf
The global CFR for swine flu was 0.048% across all ages so the IFR will have been lower than that, possibly less than half. The Asian flu pandemic of 1957 had a CFR of 0.3% which is the bottom end of the current IFR estimate. The only flu pandemic that has this beaten on paper right now is the 1918 one but that had more severe economic/social effects as it killed the exact opposite of the people who are vulnerable to COVID-19.
My guess is that the IFR number will go down as data comes in from countries that don't have China's spectacularly bad air quality.
There is another side to this; although less than 1% are dying of this, it's still putting a lot of working-age people out of action for a few weeks which won't play well with the just-in-time distribution model that everything is built around in the West. That's why slowing the progress of the pandemic is important, so as to minimise the proportion of the population who are sick at any given time. It also put about 5% of cases in China in the ICU which is a burden that the NHS is ill-equipped to bear, now that it's been organised so that all resources are fully utilised by not having enough of them.
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So it seems COVID-19 is something like 20 times deadlier than a garden variety flu, though I have seen estimates around 2-3% from multiple trustworthy sources. The WHO puts it at 3.4%. But as you say, these numbers typically fail to take into account that an unknown number of those infected may have mild enough symptoms not to seek medical help and get tested. Perhaps not even fair to compare in the first place since they belong to different families, and the effects are quite different. I just read this in the Indy:
Italian doctors have warned medics across Europe to “get ready” for coronavirus in a letter revealing up to 10 per cent of all those infected with coronavirus need intensive care, with hospitals becoming overwhelmed.
The letter, seen by The Independent, reveals the scale of the impact on hospitals in Italy where 5,883 patients have been infected with the virus and 233 people have died as of 6pm on Saturday.
In the note, sent to the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, critical care experts Professor Maurizio Cecconi, Professor Antonio Pesenti and Professor Giacomo Grasselli, from the University of Milan, revealed how difficult it had been to treat coronavirus patients.
They said: “We are seeing a high percentage of positive cases being admitted to our intensive care units (ICUs), in the range of 10 per cent of all positive patients."
That's... not good. The UK has about half as many ICU beds per capita as the Eropean average (~6 per 100k vs ~11 per 100k - Italy has 12.5). Add to that the elevated risk of infection faced by health-care staff, with the possibility that many of them will be forced to self-isolate, and it looks like a perfect storm for the poor old NHS. I recommend reading the linked article in full; it has more detail on the effects of the virus.
Ah, but India only has 43 cases as of 9 March.
Of course they have...
In Blighty all the dried pasta has gone and all the weetabix too.
I don’t really understand the weetabix thing. Unless it is a comfort thing. In my childhood we were all virtually made of weetabix in the warmer months. Changing to hot milk weetabix or Ready Brek in summer. Hot milk weetabix with sugar set like concrete.
Coles & Woolworths have also implemented similar change freeze rules. Basically the same change freeze protocols implemented in the lead-up to Easter & Christmas that have the intent of protecting stores from unnecessary change and / or additional work during their busiest times of the year.
Yes annoying if your project was about to go-live, but risk is just not worth ending up on the front page of the paper.
I saw a couple of photos today of supermarkets with pallets of toilet paper out the front.
I work in a food production factory. We wear white uniforms, hair net things, paper face masks, and so on.
The other day, somebody stole a lot of face masks. No idea who. Management want them restricted, but no more have unexpectedly gone. I'd like to think that I helped stop not being taken due to utterly taking the piss. Our masks are intended to protect the product and work environment if we cough. They are utterly useless the other way around. You'd might as well tape some bog roll to your face (actually, if you tape it all the way around, that would be better then one of our masks!).
Seriously, some people are going batshit crazy over this.
Face masks are only good if you are sick ... to protect those around you from your spit. They will not keep you from getting the virus, and in fact will probably make you more susceptible. Why? Watch someone wearing one of those masks. Count how many times they unconsciously fiddle about with it over the space of five minutes ... thus rubbing their filthy hands all over their face.
I work in logistics for a company here in the USA that has many disposable items that are being run through our supply chain at rates nearly as high as our peak season. We're talking toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, plastic spoons/forks/knives, paper bowls/plates/cups, etc. It's maddening to try and forecast your work volume. December through March is typically a huge lull in these product lines as far as throughput. Yet since the end of December, the demand for these has steadily increased. I wonder how the customers would feel knowing how much of these items come out of shipping containers from China...
"I wonder how the customers would feel knowing how much of these items come out of shipping containers from China..."
I think the numbers I saw for the virus surviving on surfaces maxed out at about 48 hours. That could change, but a shipping container from China is not likely to still be infected on arrival in Europe or the US unless it's gone air-freight.
Pasta was on half price offer in our morrisons. No issue with stock, toilet paper was a bit low, hand sanitiser was AWOL and paracetamol was looking low.
Trouble is now (as my wife said having thought the same) you feel guilty buying loo roll as everyone will think you are panic buying when actually you are just buying loo roll.
> everyone will think you are panic buying when actually you are just buying loo roll.
Wouldn't people's impression depend on how much you're buying? If I see someone buying one package (even a large one), then they need bog roll. If they're buying as many as they can fit in a cart, they're panicking.
If I were cynical, I would wonder if this were a plot to goose some sectors of the economy (the panic-industrial complex?), and/or put another brick in the surveillance state wall (quarantines! tracking people who may be sick! think of the child-, er, grandmas!).
Also, I really really hope someone is making provisions for the scut-workers who are being asked to stay home from work if they feel ill, yet are not given paid sick days. Unfortunately, most landlords and utility companies still want to be paid, now, whether tenant/customer is sick or not.
4k out of 100k worldwide and many of the deceased were in serious ill health anyway from other causes. And those figures have almost certainly been boosted by the silly habit of shutting thousands of people up on ocean liners where there are some already infected, thereby incubating a population of potential carriers. So it could be a nasty bug, but hardly a threat to humanity at large that requires entire regions to be shut down for business, or even the shelves of shops to be stripped..
I'm reminded of Kermit the frog, who when asked what to do at the end of the show flung his arms in the air and yelled "panic!".
If I was cynical I might wonder whether current fuss about the virus were a useful deflector of public attention from a range of serious political issues that would otherwise currently be challenging to governments. However the upside is that a lot of people won't need to buy toilet paper again for some time to come.
Just wait, when it blows over there will be massive queues at the recycling centres/skips as the well healed come to bin all of it to "make room" without even a thought of donating any of it to charity/foodbank
(and yes my brother and his wife are exactly like that, constantly claiming poverty yet every week they are chucking away some item of furniture and buying new)
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