Rapid responses are electronic comments to the editor. They enable our users
to debate issues raised in articles published on bmj.com. A rapid response
is first posted online. If you need the URL (web address) of an individual
response, simply click on the response headline and copy the URL from the
browser window. A proportion of responses will, after editing, be published
online and in the print journal as letters, which are indexed in PubMed.
Rapid responses are not indexed in PubMed and they are not journal articles.
The BMJ reserves the right to remove responses which are being
wilfully misrepresented as published articles or when it is brought to our
attention that a response spreads misinformation.
From March 2022, the word limit for rapid responses will be 600 words not
including references and author details. We will no longer post responses
that exceed this limit.
The word limit for letters selected from posted responses remains 300 words.
"Between 31 May and 13 June, however, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 33 000 people tested positive for covid-19 in England.3 This suggests that potentially half of the cases are being missed by the contact tracing service"
The ONS figure of 33,000 is an estimate of how many active infections are present within the community, a figure which is extrapolated from their surveys. These 33,000 have not "tested positive", the number of positive cases is about 8,000 for the same period. The problem here is that many of those 33,000 have not been tested, not that they have not been traced.