U.S. retailers could see some empty shelves by mid-April due to coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend that consumers buy masks, saying they should instead focus on regular hand-washing. The only people who would benefit from masks are those exhibiting symptoms, to help prevent them from transmitting the virus, and front-line health care workers.

Panicked hoarding could create shortages of otherwise sustainable supplies in a self-fulfilling “run on the bank” scenario. In one Italian town, videos showed panicked shoppers trading blows and stripping shelves of pasta and other staples…

“Declining consumer confidence, potentially severe retail-traffic declines, and temporary store closures are evolving risk factors that depend on uncertain variables like the geographic spread of the virus and the timing of containment/eradication solutions,” analysts at the financial services company Cowen Inc. warned in a note this week.