Not Just Toilet Paper
As Americans navigate the next stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, shortages of everyday items are still occurring.
What to Know
Why It Matters
Boom & Burn: Chlorine Shortage
- “A pandemic swimming pool boom” has led to a high demand for chlorine. *But* a major fire at a Louisiana chemical plant has severely impacted production. This plant is one of only three chlorine tablet producers in America & has been closed since August.
- The average price for a 50-pound bucket of chlorine tablets was about $80 last summer. It has now increased to approximately $200.
- Why it matters: Chlorine keeps pools clean & helps maintain safe swimming conditions, protecting people from waterborne illnesses.
Lumber Shortage & Its Impact
- Many sawmills decreased their production when the pandemic hit, expecting the need for lumber to be minimal.
- Instead, the housing market began to surge & lumber production hasn’t been able to meet demand. Due to COVID-related production challenges, the problem still grows.
- Impact on your wallet: “Soaring lumber prices that have tripled over the past 12 months have caused the price of an average new single-family home to increase by $35,872.” (National Assn. of Home Builders)
Computer Chip Shortage
- What computer chips are used for: They are “like tiny brains or memory receptacles” & are essential to most modern appliances such as smartphones, cars, & airplanes.
- How COVID has impacted production: Inventory miscalculations & “uncertainties caused by the pandemic” have “led to sharp swings in orders last year” & widespread shortages.
- Impact: This production delay could result in longer wait times for items like cars, phones, & kitchen appliances until 2022.
From toilet paper to chicken wings to chlorine – the pandemic has resulted in shortages of every kind (at different times). With increased demand and lower supplies for certain goods, this summer could once again be impacted by what *isn’t* available on the shelves.
- What computer chips are used for and how this could last until 2022 — “like tiny brains or memory receptacles”
- “Uncertainties caused by the pandemic” have “led to sharp swings in orders last year”
by Jenna Lee,