10 items that are still hard to come by because of COVID-19 pandemic

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Just when stores started filling their toilet paper shelves again, other items are suddenly in short supply. Most of them have nothing to do with cleaning.

You’ll recall that first, it was hand sanitizer and Lysol wipes that became impossible to find back in February — which feels like it was three years ago in the time-dilated Twilight Zone of 2020.

March arrived with face mask and toilet paper shortages, and cleaning sprays and products disappeared from store shelves.

April brought the first shortages of beef, chicken and pork as processing plants shut down.

As those items get restocked, other wells are running dry.

Newer items that are getting hard to find

Bike shops across the country have been so busy during the pandemic that it’s almost impossible to find an inexpensive bicycle for under $500. Big box retailers such as Amazon and Walmart offer lower prices but won’t deliver for two months.

Add to the list:

  • Bicycle helmets and accessories
  • Fitness equipment
  • Free weights for weight lifting
  • VR gamer headsets
  • Nintendo Switch gaming systems
  • Digital thermometers
  • Yeast and flour for baking

The digital thermometer shortage is understandable, given that many businesses need to scan employees daily. Yeast and flour are likely casualties of the baking-bread-at-home trend, which many Americans have used as a means of comfort and skill development during the pandemic.

The problem is that manufacturers could not anticipate the pandemic and resulting hoarding, unlike events such as Black Friday where they plan all year for massive demand on big screen TVs.

Medicines that could be treatments

From the “doesn’t that stink” file: the sudden shortage of any product named as a possible COVID-19 treatment, whether or not they really work.

Among them:

  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Pepcid and other heartburn medicine
  • Vitamin C in some parts of the country

For people who really need these items, the sudden shortage leaves them unable to find them.

Economists say only when shopping habits get back to near normal will those shortages truly end.

As always, don’t waste your money.

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John Matarese
John Matarese

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