If you want to be reminded that a worldwide pandemic won't bring people together, go to Amazon and search for "Purell."

In California, where I live, despite no disruption to the supply chain, no disaster, barely more than a dozen dead in a state of 40,000,000 people, wealthy elites are emptying grocery store shelves. Who is being penalized? Kids in WIC programs, the same poor people California listed as the reason to choose Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary just a few weeks ago. Because he is the most socialist.

Voting is one thing but when wealthy elites hit a reality iceberg, virtue signaling is the first thing thrown out of the lifeboat.

A taxi rank marshal sprays hand sanitiser on a commuter wearing a mask as a preventive measure as she arrives at the Wanderers taxi rank in Johannesburg. Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images. Link: The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

And that is why, as Steven Friedman, Professor of Political Studies at University of Johannesburg, notes on Science 2.0 Europe, it may be way too optimistic to believe COVID-19 and the 2019 coronavirus that causes it will  "remind us of our common humanity and the need to discard prejudices".

Panic buying shows just the opposite. If you are rich and stockpiling, you do not care about poverty, you are promoting it. You do not care about minorities, you are demonstrating prejudice because you are suggesting they are less fit than you because you got there first with more money.

America can be better about how we act than Africa or Europe has been but early signs are that we are not choosing to do so.