COVID-19 has hit the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has seen 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus and six deaths from the illness.
COVID-19 stems from a member of the coronavirus family that is similar to SARS and MERS, which have seen outbreaks in the past. With experts noting that regularly washing hands or using an alcohol-based sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the disease, preparedness supplies are seeing serious movement at retail.
Nielsen reported that for the four weeks ended Feb. 22, hand sanitizer sales were up 73% over the prior-year period. Additionally, despite Surgeon General Jerome Adams taking to the airwaves and Twitter to highlight the fact that masks should be used by those experiencing symptoms to prevent spread of the disease, rather than healthy individuals looking to prevent getting sick, medical mask sales saw a 319% percent boost, household maintenance mask sales increased by 262% in the four weeks ended Feb. 22.
For retailers, this presents supply-and-demand challenges that reach into the supply chain. CVS, Walmart and even Amazon's private brand Solimo have been reportedly low on hand sanitizer stock. For their part though, retailers are working to ensure stock.
“We have been seeing greater demand for certain products, such as face masks and hand sanitizers, in many of our stores,” a Walgreens spokesperson told Store Brands. “We’re continually and closely monitoring the situation, and continue to work with our supplier partners to best meet the needs of our customers.”