Across the U.S., hand sanitizer sales are up 73% for the four weeks ended Feb. 22, and sales of medical masks have gone up 319%, according to Nielsen data via CNBC.

The retail spike is attributed to Coronavirus fears, and the effects are clear as day locally, with empty shelves and racks everywhere you look.

While polling the our listeners yesterday about their opinions on the disease and the panic it has caused, Mark Nobles sent me the above picture of the paper section at Costco in Brookfield. Mark says he took this photo this past weekend and the retail giant was packed with people making emergency purchases.

I completely understand that this is a serious medical condition and there is concern for cause. This is also a time to take the few, small precautions we have available to us. However, there is difference between concern/preparation and panic. Too many people are panicking for my liking and it's not the first time I've seen this.

It's disturbing to see how little it takes to make people panic. It makes me wonder what the world would be like if we were all facing eminent death.

When you start to paint that picture in your mind, the result is a hideous, terrifying hellscape. Let's all do what we can to stay calm because mass hysteria is never a way to stay safe or solve problems. No one can think clearly or operate productively when panic is driving the bus.

It's that or we can go into full panic mode -- sound the alarm, it's threat level midnight!

Everyone grab a fire poker and engage in hand-to-hand combat in the streets, robbing one another for toilet paper and precious metals. Set your home ablaze, lick a poisonous toad, steal an ambulance and shriek to the heavens early and often.

Now doesn't all of that sound ridiculous and inappropriate? Good, then please calm down.

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