Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, it has caused a new spree of crime. But instead of stealing money and perhaps lucrative machine parts, criminals have now turned to stealing face masks and hand sanitizer to sell at high profit margins on the black market in rings that go from Japan, Italy, and Ukraine to around the world according to the Wall Street Journal.
Hospitals from Italy to Japan have reported disappearing inventories of newly precious masks and hand sanitizer. Authorities in Ukraine, Taiwan and elsewhere have broken up efforts to smuggle such goods across borders. Authorities in the U.S. and elsewhere also report frauds in which people are tricked into buying nonexistent medical supplies or providing financial information to criminals posing as health workers.
With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases globally having climbed above 110,000—as infections outside China continue to mount—supplies of masks are tight, and makers are struggling to keep up with demand. Battling those challenges, medical staff are also now contending with thieves.(source)
Activities such as these prove that while truth is real and needs to be followed, it is the perception of truth that matters to most people, and such is what most business is conducted upon. It does not matter about selling somebody a product that actually matters, but one that they think it matters to them. This explains a lot of consumer behavior- it is not based on reason at all, or even usefulness, but on feelings and other things that are not necessarily tied to reason.
If this were under normal conditions, hand sanitizer would be meaningless. But thrown in the perception of a virus? A one-dollar bottle goes for dozens of times higher a price to the right buyer, driven by fears and not necessarily fact.
Such is why one must, when it pertains to investments, always to remain calm, to think coldly, and not make rash moves lest one be trampled underfoot during the stampede of the human herd from place to place on impulse.