Quarantine craziness: stupid things people did during the pandemic

Mauricio Maroto, Staff Writer

A global pandemic, a toilet paper shortage, and a conspiracy theory walk into a bar. It sounds like the beginning of a clever joke, but it is closer to a textbook historical account of the year 2020.

According to Think Global Health, around January of 2020, Covid-19 began appearing across the globe. First in China, then in Thailand, Japan, and other Asian countries. Soon, the virus was in the U.S., and with it came a massive wave of hysteria. 

Toilet paper, for some reason, was the biggest commodity on people’s minds at the time, with people all over the world being terrified at the idea of losing their precious TP. False rumors spread that toilet paper was mainly imported from China, and due to lockdowns, supply would soon plummet. Said rumors lead to people becoming worried and buying more toilet paper, creating a vicious cycle that eventually converted stores into bathroom-tissue deserts. 

Scarcity led to various fights in supermarkets over the precious parchment. One instance in Australia even resulted in two women being charged with assault. According to 9 News Australia, a confrontation in a supermarket between a woman looking to buy toilet paper and a mother and daughter with multiple packs in their cart lead to a fight between the two parties. The incident was recorded and currently has nearly 2 million views on Youtube. 

“I remember going to Target a few times around a month ago,” said senior Joey Remmilard. “There were maybe three or four boxes of toilet paper in the whole isle.”

Australia’s situation was so severe that its prime minister felt the need to make a public statement regarding people’s behavior during the shortage. According to CBS 46, Morrison stated “It’s one of the most disappointing things I’ve seen in Australian behavior in response to this crisis.”

Radical behavior due to the lack of rolls reached such a critical point that people resorted to theft to acquire their toilet paper. According to the BBC, around February of 20201, several knife-wielding men in China robbed a delivery truck full of toilet paper. The suspects made off with around 600 rolls, valued at over $200.

Over time, supermarkets began limiting the number of packs each person could buy, and domestic toilet paper companies began increasing their supply to meet the demand. Within a few months, things were back to normal. 

However, now that one crisis had been averted, the people of the world were hungry for something else to freak out about, this time it would be 5G.

As with all new technology, there was a bit of skepticism around 5g; however, some were concerned with more than just its effectiveness. Conspiracy theorists created small communities on social media, allowing the idea that 5g towers were harmful to humans to fester. Soon, celebrities began chiming in, giving some perceived legitimacy to the idea. 

According to the New York Post, “Former ‘Cheers’ TV star Woody Harrelson recently posted a report ‘about the negative effects of 5G’ and its supposed role in the coronavirus pandemic to his more than 2 million Instagram followers. ‘I haven’t fully vetted it I find it very interesting,’ he wrote of the report claiming that ‘5G radiation’ is ‘exacerbating’ the contagion’s spread and making it more lethal.”

“I’ve heard that some people think that 5G can give you covid,” adds senior Nathan Yaris. “I can’t believe anyone would be dumb enough to think that.”

Unfortunately, believers of this theory soon began to take action. According to Business Insider, in the UK alone, nearly 80 cell phone towers were set on fire this year. Technicians working on cell towers were also jeopardized. An article published in the UK publication, The Sun, found that this year 39 engineers have been attacked while working on cell phone towers. Other instances of service towers being burned down were reported in New Zealand, the Netherlands, Ireland, Cyprus, Belgium, and Canada. The issue became so severe in Australia that the government was forced to involve counter-terrorism police.

A woman in North Carolina even went as far as opening fire on a cell tower worker hundreds of feet in the air. Thankfully, no one was injured, however, once police were called, the woman barricaded herself inside her home and armed herself with a pair of axes. The 5g gladiator was just one of the many people who took it upon themselves to save the world. 

Believers of the 5g theory had bulletproof logic. Covid-19 started spreading in 2020, 5g began appearing in 2020, therefore, 5G causes Covid. The brave men and women who took it upon themselves to burn down cell phone towers were truly heroes, however, their plan had just one tiny flaw. 5g towers looked almost identical to 2-4G towers. This minor error meant that the majority of towers that were vandalized were carrying vital 2-4G infrastructure, causing outages for emergency service providers and essential workers. Social media companies like Facebook began cracking down on conspiracy theory groups, and the movement eventually fizzled out.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but it’s always important to reflect on what went very wrong. Acting suddenly and while influenced by panic is almost never a good idea. Next time think twice before making the same mistakes so many others have.

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