Who can forget the the bare supermarket shelves that marked the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic? Everything from toilet paper to canned soup was in short supply, and each trip to the grocery store was a grim lesson in how deeply the virus had disrupted our lives.

Supply and demand have caught up with each other in the intervening months, and buying household staples has become fairly routine again. But with winter approaching, and the threat of a second surge of the virus looking more likely, are we on the verge of another period of shortages and panic buying?

Nada R. Sanders, distinguished professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University, said the prospect of shortages remains considerable as Thanksgiving and the winter holidays approach.

“The level of panic may not be as much as it was in the spring, but I think the consumer demand will be as high through the holidays,” she said. “Once we are done with the holidays, we are going to start seeing a dip back to normalcy.”


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