Coronavirus concerns fuel shoppers stockpiling of supplies

As fear and uncertainty mount, so does stockpiling by shoppers across metro Detroit. 

At almost every grocery store or big box store, shelves have been left bare for items like produce, meat, frozen food - and forget about the paper goods, they are pretty much gone. 

Mervet Ismail was at Costco in Bloomfield Township with a full shopping cart.

"I've been out every day," Ismail said. "Because the thing (is), you don't know if the (stores) are going to be shut down in the next two days."


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As cases of the coronavirus in Michigan stack up, the carts fill up. 

The Bloomfield Township Costco had three times as many customers at the end of business Thursday, leading to another mad dash the next day. 

"I've got three teenage boys at home, and they eat a lot, so I want to make sure they have enough," Ismail said.

One pass on your social media feed…one bare shelf after the next - toilet paper and paper towel the hottest commodity…we couldn't find them at three different big box stores. 

"It is a little shocking but interesting because you see it in the movies so you don't really expect it," said shopper Paris Jackson, who with his family was at the store just getting the basics.

Avoiding crowds is tough when lines at many locations have wrapped around the building. 

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"I just want to be safe actually I have an autoimmune disease so I'm looking out for myself and my girl," said Taylor Hayes who wore a surgical mask while shopping. "I want to stock up on things like vitamin C and like pure cranberry - things that will help our immune system." 

Not everyone is hitting the panic button.

"I'm not stocking up," quipped Patricia Daramola. "I'm just out this is a normal trip for me."

Everyone can agree though - they didn't quite see this, coming.  

"I think this is going to be something that we remember forever," Ismail said. 

RELATED: Track the spread of COVID-19 with our interactive map

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.


FOX 2 is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 1 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information. 

You can watch live in your FOX 2 app or on the FOX 2 Facebook page here.

You can also get the latest coronavirus news from around the country at