As the outbreak of the coronavirus continues to spread, some retailers have been capitalizing on people’s fears by increasing the prices of disinfectants and cleaning supplies. Amazon, however, has been fighting back against price gouging by third-party sellers by pulling over one million products, according to Wired.
Amazon says a lot of sellers are making false claims and trying to push fraudulent products that claim to prevent or even cure the virus. They also found out that some sellers have been price gouging on simple items like hand sanitizer, masks, and cleaning wipes. The e-commerce giant said that third-party sellers must follow its fair-pricing policy, which states companies can’t set a price significantly higher than seen in other places.
“Amazon has always required sellers provide accurate information on product detail pages and we remove those that violate our policies,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to Wired.
The coronavirus has caused almost 3,000 deaths globally and has just started to affect the United States with several reported cases in the past few days. Although the outbreak has reached the United States, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams is urging Americans to “STOP BUYING MASKS.”
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advice and suggestions to avoid the coronavirus on its website:
“There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.”