Panicked shoppers flock to Walmart, Costco to stock up as coronavirus fears increase

If you went shopping over the weekend, you may have noticed stores like Costco and Walmart were busier than usual with people stocking up on supplies. In several Central Florida locations, shoppers were grabbing water and non-perishable goods as if a Category 5 hurricane was headed for the state.

It seems the threat of the coronavirus has many people growing more concerned, leading to store shelves being wiped clean. People are stockpiling items like cleaning products, water, and toilet paper.

Shopper Carolina Aguilo went to buy hand sanitizer at one Walmart store, but said they were completely out.

RELATED: CDC confirms 2 cases of coronavirus in Florida, 184 others being monitored

"Nothing was left on the shelf. All gone," she said. 

"I've been to Costco right before Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Super Bowl and never saw it so crowded," blogger Darth Vegan told FOX 35. "Bleach, toilet paper, bottled water, etc. were in short supply." 

At the Costco near the Mall at Millenia in Orlando, door greeters were handing out sanitizing wipes for customers to clean their carts. 

Although the U.S. Surgeon General has called for caution but "not panic" over the coronavirus, it didn't seem to stop shoppers from rushing to the stores. Photos and videos of long lines and empty shelves flooded social media.

"They are out of basic items because apparently people are prepping for the coronavirus," wrote one Twitter user. "I overheard someone frantically asking where SPAM is, so I guess things are getting pretty bad."

RELATED: 3 Florida labs testing for coronavirus, cut down response times

Health officials believe that the overall immediate threat to the public is low but that everyone should take proactive measures to prevent the spread of germs. They encourage that you go about your normal business but still avoid contact with individuals who are sick, stay home if you are sick, cover your cough with tissues and then dispose of the tissues, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water. 

There are now more than 80,000 cases worldwide and nearly 3,000 deaths. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis declared "a public health emergency," as the state works to stop the spread of coronavirus. So far, there are two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state.

Get the latest on the coronavirus HERE.