#CostcoPanicBuying Takes Hold in Southern California, as Shoppers Talk of Coronavirus

Customers have been seen hauling away huge pallets of water bottles as others leave empty handed.

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Costco stores around Southern California have been posting signs that they've run out of water, as staff members hand out wipes to sanitize shopping carts, and shoppers make a mad dash for Clorox wipes, all while murmurs of the spread of the coronavirus rumble through the crowds. 

Some on social media have even been calling it #costcopanicbuying. 

A Costco store in Norwalk put up a sign limiting water purchases. (Credit: Fabian Navarro)

The Los Angeles County Public Health website has listed ways to prepare for the coronavirus, and having enough food and water for a few days was at the top of the list. 

The water still sold out at the Norwalk Costco. (Credit: Fabian Navarro)

Since December, the coronavirus has spread from mainland China to the United States.

By Monday, six people had died in the United States, all in Washington state. 

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Water got sold out at Costco💧

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Researchers in Washington said the COVID-19 virus had been spreading for weeks, unbeknownst to residents. 

A Costco in La Habra ran out of water Sunday, while a San Gabriel store was out of toilet paper, as seen by Instagram posts. 


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Costco staff at the store in Alhambra said they continue to restock, and are getting shipments every few hours or so.

And it's not just Southern California. Twitter users have been posting videos and photos of "panic buying" at Hawaii stores, New York stores, and Seattle Costco locations.

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While some are preparing, Melissa Gameros -- a mom of two young kids -- said she can only take the regular steps to keep them safe, and they have to be able to live their lives. 

Shoppers at the Alhambra Costco are stocking up on items like water, toilet paper and paper towel amid coronavirus fears. Kim Tobin reports for NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 2, 2020. (Enrique Roman)

“You got to do your everyday thing. You can’t let it keep you from doing what you have to do,” she said.

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