The increase of coronavirus infections in this sixth wave has boosted the sale of self-diagnostic antigen tests in the Balearic Islands. 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 the health consultancy, Iqvia. The trend continues to rise after the last few days, after the long holiday weekend of the Constitution and on the eve of Christmas, during the week of December 7 to 13, a total of 36,744 self-diagnosis tests were sold in the Islands. According to these figures, a new sales record has been reached, being 3.1 percent higher than the previous week and 32.7 percent higher than the peak of the pandemic, registered in the first week of August. So much so that many pharmacies have run out of supply.
The craze for self-testing began to increase across Spain from the beginning of November, with increasingly sharp increases that have reached 545.3 percent in the last month. The increase in cases in schools has caused this increase in test sales, since "as a precaution" many family members have bought 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 the 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. In the last week, pharmacies had a forecast of 24,116 tests and more than 36,700 have been sold.
Even so, the Balearic Islands are not among the communities that have sold the most antigen tests in the last few weeks despite having had a considerable increase in demand compared to previous months. The Islands are at number eleven on the list of sales of self-diagnostic tests in the last few days. Last August, at the height of the fifth wave of COVID, pharmacies in the Islands sold some 22,332 tests in the last week of August. This figure is somewhat lower than the current one, when experts expect it to grow even more during the holidays.
Spanish pharmacies sold a total of 1,439,656 COVID-19 antigen tests in the week of December 7-13. 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), Castile and Leon (80,576), Aragon (62,195), the Canary Islands (38. 134), Asturias (37,398), Balearic Islands (36,744), Murcia (36,450), Castilla-La Mancha (30,369), Navarra (20,688), Cantabria (14,037), Extremadura (11,966) and La Rioja (7,322).
The rapid antigen tests reached Spanish pharmacies at the end of July and since then it has been possible to buy them for a price ranging from three to eight euros per unit. In view of this boom in self-diagnostic tests on the eve of Christmas, epidemiologists warn that these tests can give false negatives and warn of the false feeling of security that they can generate. For this reason, they point out that the most important thing for the holidays continues to be compliance with the other health measures to stop the sixth wave: masks, ventilation, social distance and avoiding crowds.