Americans Hoarding_Face_Masks Year-over-year dollar sales growth of health related CPG items in the U.S. in the four weeks ended Feb. 22, 2020. Photo: Statista / IBT

Americans are hoarding health supplies amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 160 Americans and killed at least 11 people. When compared to last February, the sale of health supplies has dramatically increased as Americans prepare for the worst.

Sales of medical masks are up by a staggering 319 percent, according to data analyzed by Nielsen Retail Measurement Services. The purchases of household maintenance masks also drastically increased by 262 percent. Sales of hand sanitizer increased by 73 percent, thermometers by 47 percent and aerosol disinfectants by 32 percent.

Though the sale of face masks has astronomically increased, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) do not recommend wearing them to prevent getting infected by the coronavirus.

“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” tweeted Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, on February 29. “They are NOT effective in preventing [the] 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!”

Throughout the world, more than 96,000 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus — officially called SARS-CoV-2 — and more than 3,300 have died. Nearly 54,000 people have recovered from COVID-19, the illness associated with the virus.