Shoppers are panic buying over fears of the coronavirus. People worldwide are emptying supermarket shelves of toilet paper, masks, sanitiser and food. Governments told people there is no need to "panic buy". Panic buying reduces the supply of products needed by medical staff. This could worsen the problems caused by COVID-19. Videos of shoppers in Australia fighting over a pack of toilet roll in a supermarket have gone viral across social media.
Panic buying is an "irrational" behaviour. It is part of the FOMO condition - the fear of missing out. There is a "herd mentality" that makes people copy each other. They rush to the stores to do the same as others. People are overestimating the risk of dying from COVID-19. More people die in car accidents but we don't panic about this when we go to work. Singapore's prime minister said: "We have ample supplies. There's no need to stock up."