Michael Morgan, Warwick Socialist Students
All Cambridge student households have been receiving random testing from the university, while the NHS is only testing individuals showing symptoms. In the Cambridge system, a household of ten students puts swabs into a shared bag. If any come back positive, they are then tested individually.
In similar fashion, Oxford University Hospital Trust – which processes NHS tests for the government – has, in fact, also processed tests for a private school and Oxford University. It just goes to show that it’s one pandemic for the rich and privileged, and another for the working class!
Students at universities with less generous funding than Oxbridge will instead have to go through an already-overwhelmed NHS testing service. At Worcester, for example, students rely on the NHS system, with only one walk-in testing centre and the app to help control the spread.
It seems some students are born with a silver swab in their mouths. The mix of private and public in the testing system reveals the deep divide between rich and poor.
But the epidemiologist Julian Peto estimated in April that the UK has the capacity for ten million tests a day, or the whole population each week. Private testing resources should be brought into a publicly owned system which can pool these resources and guarantee efficient testing for all.