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How People Are Stockpiling Their Pantries Amid Coronavirus Spread

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

President Trump signed an $8 billion emergency spending bill today to fight the coronavirus. That money is meant to help contain the virus and develop a vaccine.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In the meantime, people around the country have been making their own preparations - raiding store shelves for things like canned goods and hand sanitizer. Costco says its sales were up 3% in February, driven, the company says, by concerns over the coronavirus.

SHAPIRO: We wanted to know what you were buying and how you're prepping. And here is what you had to say.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I have stocked up on groceries - a lot more groceries than usual just in case I don't want to go to the grocery store next week or the week after. So I'm trying to be prepared but not freaked out.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Definitely water.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: A lot of toilet paper.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Yeah. Food.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Yeah, like chips.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Canned goods, so we could be inside for a long time and not have to be outside.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Now I keep wipes and Lysol in unconventional places like in the back of my Prius. I'm not Y2K crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: Nothing has changed. I just make sure the kids wash their hands. And that's really about it.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: I'm still hugging people. I'm still shaking people's hands.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: You know, people want to shake my hand. And I'm like, oh, sorry I'm not shaking hands, but I really appreciate it.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8: I don't take the subway. I ride bikes, skateboard. I don't like to have much contact or be, like, too close to people.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9: Keep your hands to yourself. I think you'll be OK.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10: It goes back to what your mother told you when you were a child. Wash your hands.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #11: I try to watch what I'm touching, watch where I'm sitting.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #12: I'm not afraid. I mean, if you're going to get sick, you're going to get sick. If not, you're not going to get sick. So...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #13: I'm concerned both by people who are overpreparing and by people who aren't preparing at all.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #14: I work at a health clinic. And I'm pretty sure at some point, we're going to be shut down or quarantined. And so I'm going out today to buy a concertina, so I can learn how to play it while I'm sequestered at home.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #15: Just pray for the best, I guess. That's about the only thing we can do.

SHAPIRO: Coronavirus concerns from across the nation. We heard from D’Andre Millet and Morgan Reisch in Oakland, Calif.; Christy Claymore, Laurie Peterson and Courtney McQuain in Boise, Idaho; Sri Vallichekuri, Nyjri Edgar, Isaac Robinson and Cherri Jacob in Houston, Texas.; Lorenzo Johnson in Cleveland, Ohio.; Marley Rodriguez in New York City and Jacqueline Lane, Nira Perez and Dee Williams in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.