As concern rises in the United States regarding the transmission of the new coronavirus disease known as COVID-19, some stores are struggling to keep their shelves stocked with food, water, hand sanitizer and other necessities as people prepare for the possibility of home quarantines. With many sharing their experiences with long lines and empty shelves on social media, NBC News reporter Vicky Nguyen shared a video from within a New York Costco, where massive lines and a sense of urgency made shopping less-than-comfortable for customers.
The #Costco line on Saturday afternoon in #NYC. We chose a bad weekend for our first ever visit to a New York Costco. Apparently tons of people made major Costco runs this weekend and some stores sold out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. #covid19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/eFIcF8xZ0N— Vicky Nguyen (@VickyNguyenTV) March 2, 2020
There have been two deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both of whom were King County residents in Washington. Monday, the CDC recorded 91 cases of the coronavirus illness in the country, including 48 cases in people repatriated from China and from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Over the weekend, COVID-19 cases were also confirmed in Florida, New York and Rhode Island.
Nancy Messonnier, the Centers for Disease Control's director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, announced last week that Americans should prepare for a rise of the virus and its eventual impact on their everyday life.
"We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad," Messonnier told reporters, as per Yahoo News.
Messonnier added it is no longer "a matter of if, but when" the virus spreads in the U.S., and how many people end up contracting a severe case of the virus.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is requesting $2.5 billion in emergency funding from Congress at a budget hearing Tuesday, more than half of which would fund the outbreak response.
Calling the spread an "unprecedented...health care challenge, globally," Azar requested more resources to study and prevent the virus' transmission.0comments
Currently, the CDC is widely recommending people wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol. Other recommendations include avoiding close contact with sick people, keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth, staying home from work while sick and disinfecting heavily-used items with a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Photo credit: THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images