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On a roll: The psychology behind toilet paper panic

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It’s a scene that’s become familiar around the world: From the US to France to Australia, rows of empty supermarket shelves where rolls of toilet paper used to be, the result of coronavirus-induced panic buying.

What exactly is it about the rolls of tissue that has caused mayhem across cultures, including at times violent clashes that have reverberated on social media?

At its most basic, say experts, the answer lies in game theory: If everyone buys only what they need, there will be no shortages. If some people start panic buying, the optimal strategy will be for you to follow suit, to make certain you have enough squares to spare.

But this doesn’t explain it entirely — toilet paper can’t save you from infection, and we haven’t yet seen the same level of hoarding for more key items like canned foods — so something else is clearly afoot.

“I think it probably stuck out in the dramatic images in social media because it was quite clear, the packets are quite distinctive and it’s become associated in the minds of people as a symbol of safety,” Steven Taylor, author of “The Psychology of Pandemics” told AFP.

READ ALSO:   151 cases, but Kibra isn’t on lockdown

“People feel the need to do something to keep themselves and their family safe, because what else can they do apart from wash their hands and self-isolate?” added the psychiatry professor at the University of British Columbia.

Another theory Taylor put forward is rooted in our evolutionary aversion to things which disgust us, heightened when people feel threatened with infection.

“And so I think this is one reason they latched on to the toilet paper, because it’s a means of avoiding disgust.”

Taking control

Economists have also suggested people may be trying to eliminate one risk that is relatively easy and superficial, rather than doing something more costly that may reduce their risk a greater amount.This is known as “Zero risk bias.”

“My guess is we want to feel in control and have limited budgets,” said Farasat Bokhari, a health economist at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.”So we go buy something that is cheap to buy, that we can store, and we know at the back of our minds that we are going to use anyway,” he said.

A more expensive but necessary item to stock might be non-perishable food — but if frozen meals, canned foods and ramen aren’t exactly your favorites, you could be stuck with a big bill for items you eventually throw away, should the worst fail to materialize.

READ ALSO:   Relatives who traveled to Homa Bay with empty coffin quarantined

According to Taylor, many of the behaviors we see now also occurred in previous pandemics, including the Spanish flu in 1918, which killed almost 700,000 Americans and sent panicked citizens to stores and pharmacies to hoard goods.

Some at the time even floated the conspiracy theory the virus may have been a bioweapon devised by Germany. The new coronavirus has been called a Chinese weapon and an American bioweapon, depending on who is making the accusation.

One key difference between the current pandemic and those before it is the ubiquity of social media — the swine flu pandemic of 2009 happened when the medium was still relatively new — and Taylor sees both pluses and negatives.

“That’s enabled the reverberations of dramatic images and videos throughout the world, inflating people’s sense of threat and urgency,” said Taylor.

On the other hand, “Social media can be great for social support, particularly if you’re in self isolation.”So are we destined for a breakdown in social cohesion if the pandemic stretches out? History says no, said Taylor.

“Rioting and bad behavior in previous pandemics has been relatively uncommon — it has happened, there have been outbreaks, but the main response has been one of order, of people coming together, of solidarity, helping each other out and doing their best as a community to deal with this.”

READ ALSO:   Blow to athletes as counties close camps over Corona

BY Standard


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Business

How top-level meeting allowed Radisson hotel to block Arboretum road

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Arboretum park lane has become the latest public road to have a barrier erected, much to the chagrin of many Nairobi residents.

Anyone who wishes to access the Nairobi Arboretum park, Kenya Forest Service, State House, State House Primary School, Kenya Girl Guides Association, Jabali Elementary School as well as the Radisson Blu hotel will have to pass through the Arboretum park lane.

The erection of the barrier left Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja seething with rage. And he registered his disapproval on social media.

“The Nairobi Arboretum is a public space that many Nairobians enjoy. The road leading up to it is also a public road. A private entity (Radisson) has put up a barrier on this public road where members of the public are screened. I have asked @NMS_Kenya to deal ASAP,” Sakaja wrote on Twitter.

He then warned Radisson hotel to remove the barrier.

Nation.Africa can, however, confirm that the barrier was erected after meetings of stakeholders and the Westlands sub-county security team.

Arboretum park lane has become the latest public road to have a barrier erected.

Amina Wako | Nation Media Group

The stakeholders, who included State House, Kenya Forest Service Arboretum, Jabali Elementary, Kenya Girl Guides Association, National Police Service and Radisson Blu requested to have the barrier erected for security reasons.

The conversation to have the barrier started after the January 2019 DusitD2 complex attack.

READ ALSO:   151 cases, but Kibra isn’t on lockdown

The boda-boda operators who camped outside the Arboretum entrance waiting for or dropping clients visiting the park also worried them.

As the conversation was going on, in July 2019, an intruder was shot and injured after he climbed over one of the State House gates.

The need to have a barrier became even more urgent.

So, they contacted the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and they were allowed to erect the barrier.

“We are aware of the barrier. We allowed it there because of the security reasons raised by the stakeholders. Remember it is not a throughway, so it is important to know who goes in and comes out to avoid incidents like the State House intruder,” John Cheboi, the chief corporate communications officer at Kura, said.

Thereafter, the stakeholders, through Leisure Park Development Limited — the mother company of Radisson Blu Hotel — on December 10, 2019, wrote to Nairobi City County about the proposed erection of the security barrier.

And, on January 17 this year, the county replied granting permission for the work to begin.

“Authority to erect 1 No. security barrier to serve Plot L.R. No. 1870/X/106 on Arboretum Drive is hereby granted to you subject to compliance with the following conditions…” the letter, signed on February 17, 2020 by the Nairobi Chief Officer, Roads, Public Works and Transport, Eng. F.N. Karanja, read in part.

READ ALSO:   Blow to athletes as counties close camps over Corona

The council also acknowledged receiving Sh10,000 inspection fees for the work.

The work was, however, postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which was first reported in Kenya in March this year.

What followed next was government restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

According to Edward Momanyi, the Food and Beverage Manager at Radisson Blu, the Sub-County Security Committee visited the hotel in September and spelt out conditions for erecting the barrier.

“The team, led by Westlands Deputy County Commissioner Mwai Gicheru, visited the area in September. They cited the conditions as a bulletproof guard booth, two armed police officers, and two security guards,” Mr Momanyi told Nation.Africa.

Because of the cost implications, the stakeholders met again on November 11, 2020, at the hotel.

“We invited everyone around this area including State House. We discussed the cost of setting up the barrier, bulletproof guard booth, two armed police officers and two security guards and how it would be shared among ourselves,” Mr Momanyi said.

But council warned that should any member of the public or residents along the Arboretum park lane object to the erection of the barrier, the barrier will be removed.

“That you be required to bind yourselves to the conditional clause of removing the barrier should the Nairobi City County receive reasonable objection to the barrier from one or more area residents or other members of the public,” the letter read in part.

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“You shall indemnify the Nairobi City County against any litigation that may arise as a result of these works,” read one of the nine conditions set by Nairobi City County.

“This approval is valid if the works commence and are completed within three months,” it further said.

Arboretum becomes the latest public road to have obstacles.

In September this year, Muthaiga Residents Association mounted a roadblock restricting access to the suburb by boda-boda operators, commercial vehicles and pedestrians.

An email from the association’s secretariat, dated September 22, said the move was due to security reasons.

“No motorbikes and commercial vehicles are allowed to enter Main Muthaiga Road from Oil Libya Plaza, Kiambu Road and from Mini Muthaiga Round-about including house-helps, construction site employees,” read the email signed by Christine Chiriba, for the secretariat.

Further, residents were asked to provide details of their employees, including job card or a letter indicating the name of the staffer, ID number, plot or house number, employer and their contact number.

In 2014, the county assembly moved a motion to remove barriers erected on public roads by the Runda Residents Association.

by Nationafrica


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Lifestyle

TRAGIC: Woman kills self after realising hubby’s plan to get second wife

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A 38-year-old woman has committed suicide in Migori after learning that her husband had a secret lover he was planning to marry.

According to police reports, the body of Pamela Atieno was found dangling from the roof of her house on Friday morning at their rural home in Kameji sub-location, Rongo sub-county.

Chief John Agoro who reported the incident to Rongo Police Station said that Atieno took her life after she learnt that her husband was planning to marry a second wife.

“The deceased reportedly differed with her husband after she learned that he had another lover and was planning to marry her as a second wife,” said Agoro.

Atieno is reported to have left a suicide note to her husband before taking her life.

“I have decided to die because of your secret plan to (marry) another wife,” the suicide note read in part.

Never differed

Michael Ondito, the woman’s husband, however, denied arguing with Atieno, adding that he had gone to the farm only to come and find his wife had killed herself.

“I was called when I was at the farm in the morning but upon reaching home I found the body of my wife hanging on a rope on our doorstep, I was surprised because we had not quarrelled or fought,” said Onditi.

READ ALSO:   Relatives who traveled to Homa Bay with empty coffin quarantined

Chief Agoro, however, condemned the action saying people should find other ways of solving family differences.

“Domestic problems should not lead to people killing themselves. We are supposed to look for guidance and counselling experts,” the administrator said.

Rongo police boss Peter Okiring while confirming the incident said police received the information and went there to collect the body which was transferred to Rosewood Hospital’s morgue.

“We have launched our investigation into the matter but we are yet to confirm the reason why the deceased committed suicide,” said Okiring.

BY Standardmedia.co.ke


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Entertainment

Terence’s wife Milly Chebby savagely attacks troll who called her a hippo

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Terence Creative’s wife Milly Chebby is tired of body-shamers. She’s not giving them a room to pin her down with their negativity.

Well, the mother of one has savagely clapped back at a fan who compared her to a hippopotamus. The fan, identified as Winfred, body-shamed Milly, offering to help her reduce her tummy.

‘Kuja nikuuzie dawa ya kumaliza tumbo 🤔’

Chebby savagely responded and she wrote

‘Uzia mamako.’

Chebby vs troll

Winfred went ahead to troll the YouTuber, comparing her to a hippo.

‘hippopotamus binguni utapata mwili mpya,’ Winfred posted.

The plus-size media personality responded and she wrote,

@wi.nfred3517 Kuja na real account tukuone Beyonce huyu hippo ako tu sawa hivi 🖕.

Milly Chebby

by Mpasho.co.ke


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