First it was fires, then it was floods. Now, it's coronavirus. The news seems to get worse as each day passes. It reached a low point over the weekend with an ugly brawl over toilet paper in a Sydney supermarket. Two women now face criminal charges after - excuse the pun - the incident went viral on social media.
Last week, we thought commonsense might have prevailed on the South Coast. It didn't and we succumbed to the same panic buying which has spread around the world faster than the virus itself.
There is a reason for the panic, as ugly as it is has been.
Novel coronavirus - or COVID-19 - is still an unknown quantity. We simply don't know how far it will spread and how soon, and we've watched as countries around the world have locked themselves down. Preparing for the worst case scenario is an understandable response, especially when we see others doing it.
Stockpiling for a possible lockdown is one way of exercising control over a situation which is actually out of our hands. We might not be able to stop the virus but we can ensure the dunny paper doesn't run out and there's enough rice and pasta to sustain us.
It's even more understandable after the terrible spring and summer during which we all saw the costs of not preparing for the worst and not heeding the warnings that had been sounded.
On the back of a badly mishandled bushfire disaster, it's difficult for people to have faith in the federal government's ability to deal with coronavirus. Faith has also been eroded in the state's health system as the virus has turned up in hospitals, clinics, schools and aged care facilities.
Mixed messaging hasn't helped either. We had the Prime Minister tell us it was business as usual and we should still go to the cricket and the footy. Just days later, the tone was much more ominous as the pandemic word was sounded and special quarantine powers flagged.
So what should we do? Well, not panic buy for a start. It might be an understandable reflex but that doesn't make it right. We're now seeing reports of single mums and the elderly struggling to get the items they rely on from week to week because the shelves have been stripped bare.
Such unblinking selfishness coming so fast after the extraordinary generosity we saw in the wake of the fires is deeply disturbing. We can do better.