Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Covid-19 screening without scrutiny

Covid-19 mass testing: throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 10 December 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4782
  1. Julian Peto, professor of epidemiology1,
  2. David J Hunter, Richard Doll professor of epidemiology and medicine2,
  3. Elio Riboli, professor of cancer epidemiology, director of public health research3
  1. 1Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK
  2. 2Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3School of Public Health, Imperial College London, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. julian.peto{at}

Abbasi1 and Gill2 rightly criticise the government’s unevaluated coronavirus mass testing plan and the appointment of commercial consultants and contractors with little relevant expertise to design and run it. The need is urgent, however, and The BMJ should campaign for Operation Moonshot to be improved during rollout rather than stopped.3

Properly organised weekly testing would have been evaluated in Southampton already if the local public health team had been given the go ahead six months ago.4 …

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