LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Authorities and behavioral health experts say the run on bottled water and paper products at stores across the country will not stop the spread of the coronavirus and are pleading with the public to thoroughly wash hands and cover coughs and sneezes to prevent illness.
Video and pictures from across the country, including in Las Vegas, show crowds of people preparing for what looks like a hurricane is coming.
"I think, to a certain degree, there's a sense of panic that's potentially driving individuals in our community to seek out, to purchase additional bottles of water, toilet paper, canned goods," said Dr. David Gennis, the clinical director for Southern Hills Hospital.
Dr. Gennis tells 13 Investigates, the human response to the coronavirus is linked to feelings and a need to be in control of situations and environments.
"When individuals have this belief or this perception that there is an imminent threat of something horrible, that can certainly influence one's behavior and responding in a certain way that's maybe a little outside of character," explained Dr. Gennis.
Dr. Gennis suggests taking 4 deep breaths in order to center one's self, reduce stress and to clear your mind.
Dr. Gennis says panic-induced buying or other anxiety-related behaviors can have a negative effect on people and it's important to keep things in perspective.
"At this point, there's no real danger of going out and living your life as you normally do," said Dr. Amy Stone, an assistant professor at Touro University.
"The thing you wanna think about is increasing handwashing, how often you are disinfecting your hands when you are not able to get to a sink to wash your hands," Dr. Stone added.
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, is passed from person to person through close contact by ingesting droplets from coughs, sneezes, or touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching eyes, mouths, or noses.