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Dr. Mehmet Oz is speaking out about those who have been hoarding toilet paper amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The health expert went shopping on Saturday evening and came across a scene that has become all too common in stores across the United States: empty shelves that were once stocked with toilet paper.
“I went shopping today and there was no toilet paper. (Much to my chagrin there was plenty of soap.) Why we buy out toilet paper is something I’ll never understand,” he wrote on Facebook alongside a photo of empty store shelves. “Humans are hearty bunch. We’ve fixed problems far under the sea and on the face of the moon…yet we panic buy more toilet paper than we can possibly fit in our carts and cars.”
The physician added, “(1) Don’t panic — keep your distance from people, and if you feel sick, stay home. (2) Buy the essentials for two weeks, no more. Leave supples [sic] for everyone else. (3) Trust in the fact that if you somehow run out of toilet paper, a friendly neighbor would find a way to safely deliver you some.”
Oz also reminded his fans and followers to “stay calm” amid the global pandemic.
“And if it really came to it, our ancestors survived without TP. This is my way of telling you to stay calm and keep your head down. We’ve faced plenty of challenges before, and we’ll figure this one out too,” he concluded.
Around the country, stores are struggling to keep their toilet paper in stock. The New York Times reported that a Whole Foods supermarket in Somerville, Massachusetts, limited shoppers to two packages of toilet paper each, a move that is being adopted by more stores around the nation.
Psychologist Mary Alvord, who is also an associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine, told TIME that this panic buying can be explained by people’s desire for a sense of comfort amid the chaos.
“There is comfort in knowing that it’s there,” Alvord said. “We all eat and we all sleep and we all poop. It’s a basic need to take care of ourselves.”