Niki Edwards, School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology:

“Toilet paper symbolizes control. We use it to ‘tidy up’ and ‘clean up’. It’s a somewhat taboo bodily function,” he says.

“When people hear about the coronavirus, they are afraid of losing control. And toilet paper seems to be a way to keep control over hygiene and cleanliness.

“People don’t seem interested in substitutes. Supermarket shelves are still full of other paper towels and tissues.

“The media has a lot to answer for when it comes to messaging around this virus and messaging to the public. While honesty about threats is essential, creating hysteria and promoting inappropriate behavior is less than ideal. .”

Brian Cook, Community Engagement Project for Disaster Risk Reduction, University of Melbourne:

“That’s an interesting question. I suspect it has to do with how people react to stress: they want an element of comfort and security. said.

“I think there’s also a pragmatic element. Toilet paper is a product that takes up a lot of space, so it’s not something that people have a lot under normal circumstances.

“A lot of people probably also use toilet paper as a tissue, and therefore imagine they need a lot if they have the flu or a flu-like illness.

“Stocking up on toilet paper is also a relatively cheap action, and people like to think they’re ‘doing something’ when they feel in danger.”