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Don't be a jerk during the coronavirus pandemic: Stop hoarding and keep your distance

Joshua Bote
USA TODAY

It’s generally a good idea to not be a jerk at all times, but amid the coronavirus pandemic, practicing common courtesy can help keep yourself and others safe. 

You’ve heard some common tips for a while: Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, try your hardest not to touch your face and self-quarantine if you’re feeling sick.

But as the virus spreads globally and disrupts life more, you should be forming new habits and avoiding certain bad behaviors that may have never occurred to you weeks ago. It's not only good for your health, but crucial to ensuring that others around you stay healthy as well.

Here are a few examples:

Goodbye, handshake. Hello, elbow bump?:Greetings to avoid during the coronavirus outbreak

Don't hoard toilet paper and cleaning supplies

It's OK to stockpile some supplies, and it's understandable that many Americans are preparing for an extended stay at home. But experts say anything beyond having a two-weeks supply of necessities is excessive.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy: People panic buy toilet paper, leading people to think there's a long-term shortage, leading to more panic buying.

A two-week supply of food, cleaning supplies, medicine and other goods is enough — more than that is probably hoarding. At best, it's annoying to have to search multiple stores for basic necessities. At worst, it can hurt vulnerable people who don't have the luxury of shopping around.

Don't sell hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies at crazy prices

In a similar vein, don’t be the person who buys crates of cleaning products to sell them online for 20 times the price you bought it. (Maybe donate them.)

Shoppers are facing astronomical price tags for necessities, and many people — especially now — are having a hard time affording them.

EBay and Amazon put a stop to “price gouging,” the practice of buying resources and goods that are in short supply and raising the price significantly, by banning third-party sales of some products.

Some states, such as California, are banning “excessive and unjustified increases” of more than 10% on key goods and services during coronavirus.

Be courteous on conference, video calls: Mute

You may be unaware of what you're doing when you work or take classes from home — and are on a shared Zoom or Google Hangout with your co-workers or classmates. Make sure to mute your mic. If you're not talking, mute. If you're eating, mute. Taking an extra couple of seconds to unmute yourself during a meeting or call is better than everyone else hearing you chew food. Everyone will thank you.

Social distancing, please! 

As much as humanly possible, please refrain from congregating with large groups of people. Disregard any concerns of FOMO you may have and say no if a friend's inviting you out. Many cities and states — such as San Francisco, Seattle and the state of Oregon — have banned gatherings as small as 100 people. Sporting events, concerts and other big congregations of people are largely canceled. The less people are packed into small spaces, the better chance we have of "flattening the curve."