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Utah psychiatrist says people preparing for Coronavirus is ‘healthy’

Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 04, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — As the concern over COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, continues to grow people across the beehive state are reporting stores running out of toilet paper, water and disinfectant.

Preparing for the unknown is nothing new, Dr. Todd Thatcher, DO, Chief Medical Officer for Valley Behavioral Health, said.

“I’ve seen this several times before with tornadoes and hurricanes where that panic will set in and I mean you go to the store and it’s literally, there’s nothing left on the shelves,” he said.

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Now with the Coronavirus, many stores are experiences the same shortages. This type of planning is actually healthy for those who are nervous, Dr. Thatcher said.

“As human beings we like to feel like we are in control of things,” he said.

Having a plan in place for things like work, childcare and other important aspects of life in the unlikely event someone must be quarantined, or Utah experiences a major Coronavirus outbreak, can help with anxiety, Dr. Thatcher said.

“The panic is probably going to cause more problems than anything,” he said.

While the facts show the Coronavirus has a very low mortality rate and there are no confirmed cases in Utah, it is understandable that people feel uneasy about the virus since there is so much unknown, Dr. Thatcher said.

“Our emotions are very powerful but they are not logic based,” he said.

Harmons Grocery is not experiencing bare shelves, but a spokesperson says they have seen an increase in sales on toilet paper, water and canned items.

“We have had some customers say that they looked elsewhere and were able to find what they were looking for here,” Jordan Meister, Harmons City Creek Store Director, said.

If you are experiencing anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus and need someone to talk to, you can call Valley Behavioral Health at 888-949-4864 or visit them online at

The Utah Department of Health has launched a new Coronavirus Information Line, experts can be reached at 1-800-456-7707. The state has also launched a new website to help Utahns track the spread of COVID-19:

For the latest information from the CDC on the Corona Virus, click