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Toilet paper hoarding sparks panic

As expected, anxious residents across the country emptied store shelves of hand sanitizers and soap in recent weeks as news of the feared coronavirus spread. But as they braced for the possibility of a weeks-long quarantine and disruption of ordinary supply chains, they also bought every roll of toilet paper in sight. “We expected the usual run on bread and milk,” said one harried store manager, “but we’ve never had customers battling over toilet paper before.”

Federal officials announced that the nation’s strategic supply of toilet paper is largely intact, and there are no plans to divert any part of the national stash for everyday civilian use. “We need that supply for our military, for restrooms in the nation’s capital, and for selected hotels and golf resorts,” said one White House official who declined to be named. “We know all our citizens will share whatever toilet paper they have and make use of an abundant supply of leftover catalogues and newspapers when necessary. We can’t think of a better use for the Washington Post and New York Times.”

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