Local pharmacies can’t keep hand sanitizer on the shelves, because the minute they get a new order Upper West Siders swoop in to buy it. The spread of the novel coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, has frightened people all over the world, and the Upper West Side is no exception.
“It seems one cannot buy hand sanitizer for love or money on NYC’s Upper West Side. Six stores and I couldn’t find even a little travel-size bottle of it,” wrote Gayton Gomez on Twitter on Saturday.
Purell and the like are important protections against the disease for people who can’t immediately get to a bathroom to wash their hands.
Claude Essimel, manager of Park West Pharmacy on Columbus between 82nd and 83rd, said they’ve been out of masks, Purell and all other hand sanitizers since Wednesday. He said that in general the virus is showing some of the limits of the drug store supply chain — people, he noted, probably don’t know where their medicines and products come from, and why there may be limits to those supplies.
Sherif Elthawy, the owner Joseph’s Pharmacy on 72nd between Broadway and West End Avenue, says he got some Purell on Friday but was completely sold out by Saturday. And he’s having trouble getting any more — nor can he get wipes or masks. “Distributors are gouging prices like crazy,” he said.
Other stores, including Ace on 90th and Columbus, are creating entire coronavirus sections. On Saturday, it appeared to mostly have Clorox wipes. No N95 masks were available, according to Teresa Pesek.
ACE Hardware on UWS Columbus Ave dedicated a section in their store for “anti-#coronavirus”, also a few older customers asked for the 3M N-95 masks, which are sold out. #COVIDー19 prevention is key, probably also a smart idea to have a prominent “anti-flu” section every season. pic.twitter.com/bd5vl0MD0n
— Teresa Pesek (@TeresaPesek) February 29, 2020
If you’ve found the secret stash of Purell, let us know in the comments. And don’t hoard it all please, your neighbors may need some!
Here are some basic precautions that you can take to try to avoid the disease, via the CDC:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.