By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) As far too many Americans continue to freak out about the spread of coronavirus, irrational panic buying of toilet paper, Spam, bottled water, and canned chicken have left store shelves bare and many people wanting.
Empty shelves and limits on other goods have, of course, merely fed into the frenzy.
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But the head of the American Trucking Association issued a statement Wednesday reassuring the country that the country’s supply chain is intact, though delayed somewhat, and that drivers don’t much give in to virus fears because they have a job to do.
“The coronavirus pandemic invokes fear. That’s understandable. We’re confronted with a novel virus that represents a serious threat to public health,” ATA president and CEO Chris Spear said.
“We’re also faced with uncertainty. Uncertainty gives rise to misinformation, and it’s in these environments that rumors run rampant. Hysteria, more so than the underlying challenge, is often what fuels public fear,” he continued.
“It reminds me of 9/11. In the immediate wake of that horrific attack on our country, the things we didn’t know outweighed the things we did. Those ‘unknowns’ gave room to falsehoods, and rumors spread — like an epidemic,” Spear added.
He then urged Americans to put aside our differences and unite against the common threat — COVID-19 — while making it clear that his industry is up to any logistics challenges related to the outbreak.
“There is plenty of food, water, medicine, fuel and, yes, toilet paper, in our supply chain. The empty shelves temporarily seen are simply the result of surge demand as Americans rush to stock up. They’ve been quickly restocked as carriers and retailers adjust to the whims of the market,” he wrote.
“Truckers don’t deal in fear. They have a job to get done. They get up, hop in the cab, and take to the road. Truckers always deliver, even when there’s a natural disaster or expanding crisis,” Spear continued. “Like those crises of past, this coronavirus pandemic too shall pass. After a period of disruption to our familiar routines, life will return to normal.”
Spear concluded, “I don’t anticipate this road will be easy, but I have no doubt we will surpass it. Let facts, not rumors, guide the way. Pull together, rather than against one another. Put politics aside in the interest of our common good. Above all, keep calm — and keep on trucking.”
That message echos a similar one from President Donald Trump, who urged people this week to “relax” and stop hoarding supplies.
“You don’t have to buy so much, take it easy,” he said Tuesday. “Relax, we’re doing great. It all will pass.”
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And for goodness sakes, you’re not going to immediately need a pickup load of TP. Buy a couple bundles and save the rest for others who are going to need it, too.
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