Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

These Pictures Show The Buying Frenzy Ahead Of A Potential Coronavirus Outbreak In The US

Americans turned out over the weekend in long lines to stockpile face masks, nonperishables, and other emergency essentials after news of the first US deaths due to the coronavirus and community spread of the virus in Washington state.

Posted on March 2, 2020, at 4:38 p.m. ET

Sign up for the BuzzFeed News newsletter JPG for behind-the-scenes exclusives from renowned photographers and our hard-hitting photo stories.

On Saturday, a man in Washington state died after contracting COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, marking the first death in the US caused by the disease that is making its way across the globe after originating in Wuhan, China. Health officials updated the death toll on Monday to six, with over 90 infected in the US.

With the global death toll surpassing 3,000, many Americans have taken precautionary measures by stocking up on nonperishable food items and emergency supplies for the possibility of a quarantine or a break in the supply chain. No US city was under quarantine orders on Monday. One of the items flying off the shelves was face masks, which, despite their high demand, have been deemed unnecessary for the general public by the World Health Organization and will not protect against the coronavirus.

These pictures capture the rush as Americans flooded groceries, pharmacies, and wholesale stores to stock up on emergency supplies.

Handout / Reuters

Shoppers line up outside a Costco in Honolulu to buy supplies after the Hawaii Department of Health on Wednesday advised residents they should stock up on a 14-day supply of food, water, and other necessities.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Supermarket shelves are starting to be emptied as people prepare for the spread of coronavirus in New York on March 1.

Yichuan Cao / Sipa USA via AP

Shoppers wearing protective face masks while buying toilet paper at a wholesale store in Mountain View, California, on Feb. 28.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Supermarket shelves are starting to be emptied as people prepare for the spread of coronavirus in New York on March 1.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

A person wears a face mask as a precaution against coronavirus in New York on March 2. New York confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus late Sunday.

Marta Lavandier / AP

Only a few bottles of hand sanitizer remain on the shelves at a Walgreens Pharmacy in Miami Shores, Florida, on Feb. 28.

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Supermarket shelves are starting to be emptied as people prepare for the spread of coronavirus in New York on March 1.

Mark Ralston / Getty Images

People buy water, food, and toilet paper as they begin to stockpile essentials over fears that supplies will be affected by the spread of the coronavirus in Los Angeles, Feb. 29.

Catherine Koppel / Reuters

Shelves of a CVS pharmacy are stripped of hand sanitizer amid coronavirus fears in New York, Feb. 29.

Mark Ralston / Getty Images

Shoppers buy toilet paper, food, and water as people stockpile essentials amid fears that supplies will be affected by the spread of the coronavirus in Los Angeles, Feb. 29.

Mark Ralston / Getty Images

A man buys water as people begin to stockpile essentials in Los Angeles, Feb. 29.

Marta Lavandier / AP

A few containers of disinfecting wipes remain on the shelves at a Publix supermarket in Miami Shores, Florida, on Feb. 28.

Mark Ralston / Getty Images

People buy water, food, and toilet paper at a store in Los Angeles on Feb. 29.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

A pharmacy shelf empty of masks ahead of a potential coronavirus outbreak in Manhattan, Feb. 28.

John Nacion / STAR MAX / IPx

A street vendor sells hand sanitizer and other disinfecting products in Queens on March 2.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

A man walks out of a pharmacy after purchasing N95 face masks ahead of a potential coronavirus outbreak in Manhattan, Feb. 27.

George Frey / Reuters

Kristen Curley, owner of Nitro-Pak, puts items into a backpack as part of personal protection and survival equipment kits ordered by customers preparing for the coronavirus, in Midway, Utah, on Feb. 27.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

A pharmacy worker sells N95 face masks ahead of a potential coronavirus outbreak in Manhattan, Feb. 27.

Yichuan Cao / Sipa USA via AP

A sign saying that face masks are currently sold out at a drug store in Mountain View, California, Feb, 27.


ADVERTISEMENT