Why Is Everyone Stocking Up On Water?

Better Ideas From Earthquake Country

George “Ace” Acevedo
4 min readMar 9, 2020
Photo by Jonathan Chng on Unsplash

Like everyone else, I have to start this post by stating that I’m not a health professional. And there are already some excellent articles on why this current situation should be taken seriously. Like this one from Dave Troy: Commonly Asked Questions About Covid-19.

I live in earthquake country in California.

Some of these ideas come from the earthquake kits we’re always asked to have ready. But unlike earthquake kits, there are a few things you probably don’t need.

For example, water and masks.

Are these things really necessary?

It’s not unreasonable to believe the lights will stay on and water will still flow from the tap. Developed countries where the virus is widespread are not suffering from these problems. Therefore I have no reason to believe the water from my tap will become unsafe. This virus is not water borne. Instead of bottled water, try a filter.

And masks don’t work, unless you’re already sick. The government has already told us to STOP WEARING AND BUYING MASKS, unless you’re sick. Apparently wearing a mask will not keep you from contracting a disease, so to me, all the people walking around wearing them look silly. Even the N95 masks are not foolproof, and those are expensive and hard to find, plus they’re extremely uncomfortable to wear if worn correctly. Masks are only effective if you have the virus, keeping the particles from your coughing and sneezing from going into the air to be breathed in by someone else, or from landing on something other people will touch. And if everyone buys masks, that only makes it difficult for the people who really need to get them, like hospitals and medical clinics.

Toilet paper I can understand.

If you’re going to be stuck at home for a couple of weeks, you may not be going to the market. The problem is the crowd mentality. The people stocking up are causing people who hadn’t planned on stocking up, to start stocking up, and now soon no one will be able to find what they need.

So if you really felt you needed to, if you’re absolutely dead set on stockpiling, what should you be stocking up on?

Think about this. If you’re going to be quarantined for 2 weeks or more, what would be helpful? What kind of food is going to last? What kind of medications will you need? What other supplies would help?

In California, our earthquake kits contain things like non-perishable foods, like canned soup, canned vegetables, and frozen meals. Granola bars. Vitamins.

Also, how about Kleenex, over the counter cough medications, and fever and pain reducers like Tylenol? Toothpaste, soap, tampons and sanitary napkins. Band-Aids and other medical supplies.

While a flashlight is probably unnecessary (who doesn’t have one on their phone?), a few extra batteries might also be helpful.

These may be a start. If you want a complete list of emergency preparedness, here’s one from the CDC. But use common sense, you won’t need the majority of these items. Just think of what would make you comfortable if you had to stay at home.

Keep in mind, the world is not coming to an end.

There will be more than enough people to keep our economy and our systems running. We don’t know everything about COVID-19, but we do know more than 95 percent of the people who have caught it so far are surviving it. And not everyone will catch it. You may feel like crap for a while, but you’ll probably get through it. Based on the numbers, the mortality rate is higher than the flu, but it won’t kill most of us.

I have a couple of trips planned in the next few weeks, and I truly hope I can go. I say this to my friends and they think I’ve gone nuts. If traveling is still possible, I won’t be stupid, though. Of course I will take precautions. Like everyone else should, I will wash my hands several times a day (at least 20 seconds each time, right?). I will try not to touch my face. I thought about wearing gloves, but I probably won’t (this is also a negligible thing to do). I will carry hand sanitizer for those times I can’t wash. I will try to stay away from people who are obviously sick. But let’s face it, these are things that are smart to do any time.

I guess the most important thing is, don’t panic.

Don’t add to the hysteria. Do what you can to keep it from spreading, but let’s stay measured in our response. I hope this helps.


Want a chuckle and maybe something to think about a couple of times a week? Then click here.



George “Ace” Acevedo

Writer. Noisemaker. Visual Artist. Former radio guy who knows a little about a lot.