So it’s been a crazy week. I was a bit sniffly with a sore throat the other day and then started thinking about the tapas tours I had booked over Christmas and then I started to get worried. Last week was when infection numbers started going through the roof again – we are back to level 3 – and the idea of being at close quarters with maskless strangers for 4 hours made me nervous not just for me but for them. Because I had no idea if I was infectious and antigen tests were (and still are) as rare as hen’s teeth. All the farmacias were sold out.
And so I cancelled the tours. And felt terrible about it because I have never cancelled a tour before this, not in twelve years. I mean, there were only 4 of them, but they were also my only source of income for December. So aside from apologising profusely and returning all the deposits, I also spent a considerable amount of time with each client making sure they were set up by booking places for them, giving lots of recommendations, and in some cases even recommending what they should order at each tapas bar. I just didn’t want to leave them in the lurch, especially as the cancellations were quite last minute.
Then I found a farmacia that had antigen (LFT) tests and Peter picked up a couple of them for us (I hadn’t left the house since Christmas Eve morning to go to the supermarket) and dropped them off when he came to pick up his Christmas dinner takeaway. In retrospect I should have asked him to pick up a few more as they are once again sold out, but yesterday the tests were done (so nerve racking!) and they both came out negative. Which means we are not definitely positive. But it doesn’t guarantee we are covid-free. Which is why you’re supposed to do these quick tests, well, all the time.
BUT… the ones I bought cost 7€ each. A quick google showed that the manufacturer sells them for 3€ (and for sure the pharmacies get a bulk rate, maybe 1€ each?). In Madrid they have started just handing them out at farmacias (while supplies last) but apparently that’s not going to happen here. But when I asked today if that was going to start being the case here I was told NO. WTF? Why there and not here?
Yesterday the only ones I could find were being sold for 9.25€ individually or in a pack of 5 for 45€. It’s like with the surgical masks, which used to sell for a small fortune during the first lockdown, now you can find them for 10 cents each, or less. Oh well. At some point I also want to do an antibody test, to make sure the vaccine is actually working for me. But for now just still being very careful.
Seriously, why should the tests be sold at more than cost, if not actually free like the vaccine? I mean, not all you want for free, but say one a week? If people aren’t going to live in near isolation the way we are doing, it’s as essential a part of ending this as the vaccine is.
Reportedly you can get them free here if you ask at a local library. Which means you have to go into an enclosed space with other people. It makes no sense. They should be going to every mailing address in the country. We can afford lots of less essential shit, we could do this.
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So agree with you! These rapid tests are the first line in helping people be able to at least do their part. And of course if you test positive then you go get a PCR. Then you are entered in the system… I do not trust the “official” statistics for this very reason. I’m sure less than half of infected people even get PCR tested unless they end up in hospital.
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