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Health & Science

Why Are We Buying So Much Toilet Paper?

Brian Albers


History is full of moments when humans as a group react to difficult events. Now that we are a month into the coronavirus quarantine, we’re taking stock of our own reactions to this time.

We’ve been hearing stories from around the country about panic buying -- especially people hoarding toilet paper -- and when we looked at the numbers, Utah is at the top of current grocery store spending. We’ll talk about the psychology of pandemics, as well as the history and culture of Utah’s own impulse to, well, buy a lot.


  • Dr. Damir Huremovic, a psychiatrist at Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital. Editor of Psychiatry of Pandemics: A Mental Health Response to Infection Outbreak.
  • Dr. Christopher Blythe, research associate with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, author of the upcoming book Terrible Revolution: Latter Day Saints and the American Apocalypse.
  • Dr. Matthew Bowman, associate professor of History and Religion at Claremont Graduate University, where he is also the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies.
  • Brad Plothow, VP of Brand and Communication at Womply.