As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen all around the world, Americans are taking the opportunity to stock up on supplies while they can. However, retail inventories are struggling to keep up with demand.

Both pharmacy-store chain Walgreens Boot Alliance (WBA -4.24%) and supermarket giant Kroger (KR 0.43%), announced on Thursday that they have placed limits on the number of certain products shoppers can buy.

Walgreens has stated that it's limiting orders on disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, and thermometers, with each customer allowed to buy just four of each item. The pharmacy chain also said that it's waiving all delivery fees for eligible prescription drugs while also offering free delivery on any online purchase until further notice. Kroger will also be limiting the number of purchases for its cold, flu, and sanitary products that customers can buy per order.

A person in a pharmacy holding several face masks.

Image source: Getty Images.

Other supermarket chains, including Costco Wholesale Corp and Target, have both reported a significant increase in traffic to their stores as Americans stock up on essential supplies. While healthcare products have seen a surge in demand, other goods, such as toilet paper and bottled water, are being bought up at a rapid rate, as well.

Further supply shortages are coming

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase, shortages are expected to become increasingly prevalent across the country. Back in February, CVS and Walgreens had both warned Americans that sanitization products would quickly run off the shelves.

Since then, the number of COVID-19 cases has continued to surge. There are over 1,600 confirmed infections in the U.S., with the total number of global cases rising to 128,000.