The increase in coronavirus infections in this sixth wave has boosted the sale of antigenic self-diagnostic tests in the Balearics. In the week of November 29 to December 6, when infections began to rebound, more than 27,151 were sold in pharmacies, according to data compiled by health consulting firm Iqvia. The trend continues to rise after the last few days, after the long Constitution holiday weekend and on Christmas Eve, during the week of December 7 to 13, a total of 36,744 self-diagnostic tests were sold in the Islands. . According to these figures, a new sales record was reached, 3.1% more than the previous week and 32.7% more than the peak of the pandemic, recorded in the first week of August. So much so that many pharmacies are out of stock.
The self-test craze started to rise across Spain from early November, with increasingly steep increases reaching 545.3% last month. The increase in cases in schools has caused this increase in sales of tests, since “as a precaution” many family members have purchased one of these tests. However, it is also true that the increase in social life, as well as company dinners and lunches or events, have also increased the demand. This is the first time that sales of tests have exceeded the supply available in pharmacies. In fact, the report warns that the demand may well exceed supply for this week before Christmas. As of last week, pharmacies scheduled 24,116 tests and more than 36,700 have been sold.
Despite this, the Balearic Islands are not among the communities that have sold the most antigen tests in recent weeks despite a considerable increase in demand compared to previous months. The Islands are number 11 on the self-diagnostic test sales list in recent days. Last August, at the height of the fifth wave of COVID, pharmacies on the islands sold some 22,332 tests during the last week of August. This figure is slightly lower than the current one, as experts expect it to rise even more during the holidays.
Spanish pharmacies sold a total of 1,439,656 COVID-19 antigen tests during the week of December 7 to 13. Catalonia is the autonomous community that leads in the acquisition of this type of diagnostic test, with 278,797 last week. It is followed by Andalusia (206,075), Madrid (195,491), Valencia (170,701), the Basque Country (117,468), Galicia (95,237), Castille and León (80,576), Aragon (62,195), the Canaries (38,134) ), Asturias (37,398), Balearic Islands (36,744), Murcia (36,450), Castille-La Mancha (30,369), Navarre (20,688), Cantabria (14,037), Extremadura (11,966) and La Rioja ( 7322).
The rapid antigenic tests arrived in Spanish pharmacies at the end of July and since then it is possible to buy them for a price ranging from three to eight euros each. Faced with this boom in self-diagnostic tests on Christmas Eve, epidemiologists warn that these tests can give false negatives and warn against the false sense of security they can generate. For this reason, they emphasize that the most important thing for the holidays continues to be compliance with other health measures to stop the sixth wave: masks, ventilation, social distancing and avoiding crowds.