Daily Debunker: The Great TP Shortage of 2020

Featured on Snopes today: False rumors warn of a contaminated toilet paper "recall" at Costco, online miscreants spread malware via "coronavirus maps," and more.

Published Mar 16, 2020

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Grocery stores everywhere have reported temporary shortages of bathroom tissue because consumers are overstocking to prepare for whatever privations the coronavirus pandemic may bring.

It may seem bizarre, but economists say hoarding essential items like toilet paper gives people a sense of control in a threatening and unpredictable situation in which they otherwise feel powerless. Unfortunately, such situations also bring out rumor-mongers bent on sowing confusion and panic.

Case in point: a viral post claiming that retail giant Costco is “recalling” toilet paper made in China because it is “contaminated with coronavirus.” The rumor is not only false but absurd, as’s David Mikkelson reports.

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