Medical anti-viral masks have been out of stock in Anchorage pharmacies for three weeks. But overnight, the supply of hand-sanitizer gel in Anchorage has vanished from local shelves.
A survey of five chain stores in Anchorage came up with just one 2-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer. Store clerks said that over the past 24 hours their hand sanitizer inventory has been wiped out. They did not know when they were going to get more of the alcohol-based gel. Several drug stores still have a good supply of straight rubbing alcohol, however.
The disappearance of the hand sanitizer product may be a result of a worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, a particularly infectious flu-like illness that was first identified in Wuhan, China.
Some hand sanitizer products are still available online at Amazon, but supplies appear low, and notifications that the product can’t be shipped to Alaska are common, due to the ethanol or alcohol content, a shipping hazard.
One of the side benefits to Alaskans becoming more vigilant about the potential arrival of the virus in the state is that the level of regular influenza is dropping: