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Bay Area residents stock up on supplies as coronavirus fears grow

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are flying off the shelves at some stores in the Bay Area.

Now household items like paper towels and toilet paper are also selling out at some stores as people prepare for the coronavirus and possible quarantine if they were to get sick.

Shoppers described Costco in San Francisco on Sunday.

“There’s a ton of people buying whatever they can buy.”

Some showed up to do their weekly shopping. Others stocked up on supplies in preparation for when the coronavirus makes its way to the city.

“Well that’s the reason I came here today, to stock up on supplies. There’s no masks. They ran out of masks and beans.”

The San Francisco location ran out of paper towels while viewers at Costco locations in the East and South Bay say the stores were out of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.

“Pretty crowded today. A lot of people buying the essentials I guess. A lot of people had toilet paper, bottled water in their carts.”

Meanwhile some of the shelves were completely empty at other stores like Walgreens and Target in San Francisco.

Viewers across the Bay Area also sent us their photos.

Some stores even posted signs like the Cole Hardware in San Francisco and the Rite Aid in Oakland, alerting customers that the store’s out of masks and hand sanitizer.

“Worried. It’s spreading. I wore my mask while I was shopping. I saw a lot of people wearing masks too.”

While many people are still wearing mask supplies and looking for them, the CDC and US surgeon general say they won’t help.

On Saturday, the US surgeon general tweeted:

“Seriously people – stop buying masks…they are not effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus, but if healthcare providers cant get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk.”

While supplies are running low at a few stores, we want to reassure people that this is not the case everywhere.

Many stores are replenishing their supplies daily or have new orders on the way.

A couple of Targets in South San Francisco still have disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers.

While these supplies are hot commodities, it’s important to remember that experts say the most effective technique to stay clean of germs is washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

And as people continue to buy masks — which many companies are now price gouging — we want to again remind people that the CDC does not recommend that the general public wear face masks.

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