The shutdown has just been blown out of the water

HUGE NEWS: The very same man who brought about the shutdown with his extreme claims about massive death tolls has now massively backtracked:

Up to two thirds of people who die from coronavirus in the next nine months are likely to have died this year from other causes, a government advisor has said.


Professor Neil Ferguson, who is recovering at home from Covid-19, told the Science and Technology Committee that experts were now expecting around 20,000 deaths, although said it may turn out to be a lot less.


But he said that many of those deaths were likely to be old and seriously ill people who would have died from other conditions before the end of the year.

This is the very man, the man from Imperial College, who said there would be 410 000 to 550 000 UK deaths (and 2.2 million in the US) if we didn’t bring in all the measures, including five months of total lockdown. A claim based on his own work, and the paper he was lead author on. Now he’s massively changed his tune. Suddenly it’s no big deal.

Will he and the government admit that they have massively screwed up? Like hell they will. They’ll try to credit the lockdown for it. This has already started:

Coronavirus cases could peak over Easter and then begin to fall if the public follows social distancing measures, Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, has said.

An incredibly damaging economic lockdown is in place, all supposedly justified by the World War III level of deaths that were about to hit us. And now we’re told that it’s all going to be fine after all in two to three weeks because of the lockdown? This is utter horsecrap. Half the country is still having to to go work every day. The lockdown has only just started. Social distancing hasn’t been observed much until recently. There will have been SARS-CoV-2 viruses all over door knobs, hand-rails, train doors, petrol pump handles, etc. There’s no way this lockdown could deliver that sort of result by mid-April if what they had been telling us was true.

They must have realised that their models were garbage. Which they were. Read Ferguson’s Imperial paper here. It’s built on thin air. It’s based firstly on a fatality rate of 0.9%, which they don’t have anywhere near enough data for (or the right sort of data). They’re basing it firstly on the fatality rate of people who needed hospitalisation. Those rates tell us nothing, though, because we have no clue as to how many people get infected and don’t need hospitalisation. The authors realise that. How do they handle it? By taking into account some data from China and some data from people returning on repatriation flights (I presume they mean to the UK). This is all very unclearly presented (p. 5), and they’ve basically taken the data from another paper, which I’ve briefly looked at, and it doesn’t look to have very solid or extensive data. So this 0.9% rate just has nothing of substance backing it up.

Also, they assume an infection rate of 2.4, for which there doesn’t seem enough good evidence for. It may be right, of course, but if it is then there’s strong possibility that an infection rate that high might already have produced a high number of cases, which blows the fatality rate of 0.9% out of the water.

Finally, the paper doesn’t contain the details of the mathematical models they’ve used to predict how things will go, but we know that these models can give massively varying results depending on how you build them. There’s no reason given why we should think that their models are reliable.

I’m utterly astonished that this paper was used as the justification for the one of the most (possibly the most) economically damaging action ever taken by a UK government. And now its author is basically telling us that it’s worthless. The shutdown has been exploded. Call it off now.

(I’ll explain later in more detail why the small numbers of deaths now expected can’t be attributed to the shutdown itself.)

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30 thoughts on “The shutdown has just been blown out of the water

  1. My prediction, for some time, is that this thing has been out there for months. The scary graphs of exponential increase are not the virus spreading, but simply the increase in testing. It’s an iceburg and they are only just draining the water.

    NZ has committed economic suicide, along with the UK and large parts of the west in order to run away from a shadow.

  2. “Finally, the paper doesn’t contain the details of the mathematical models they’ve used to predict how things will go, but we know that these models can give massively varying results depending on how you build them”

    Yes, perhaps they just pumped some data into a climate model eh?

  3. It may have gone like this; the group most likely to contract and then spread the virus are the group who are the least likely to show anything much re symptoms : i.e. the young ,fit and socially most active ( or at worse simply diagnosed as having a ‘flu’).
    So could it be that last year the virus was spreading for some time among the young and then ,at the end of the uni or work year ,they went home to see the ‘old folks’ and ‘bingo’.

  4. This is merely a live exercise to see how governments and people will react. I’m horrified at how people have fallen into line and haven’t questioned the narrative at all – even people who usually ALWAYS question the narrative. What a brilliant way to lock a country down; they would have had push back if they’d tried it any other way. This video, from 4 day ago, may be about the US but it’s pertinent for everywhere. Frightening how TPTB have subtly, behind the scenes, take over America. It’s Dark Journalist, about ‘Continuity of Goverment’ – a procedure originally created durng the cold war in the event of a nuclear attack but it’s slowly had all safeguards removed and is now being used to put troops on the ground and no trial arrests over there – sound familiar?

  5. Public Health England figures state that on average 17,000 people died from seasonal flu 2014/2015 – 2018/2019.

  6. I thought the news management had altered in the last day or so, from “End of world” to “The NHS will probably cope “. I thought it was just news management, to nudge behaviour, but maybe you’re right and it’s more than that.

  7. Covid19 likely has a very low mortality rate
    Sadly a very small proportion (though of a large population) of sufferers develop acute lung disease requiring surgical intervention
    The NHS works close to capacity at all times and so has inadequate capacity to meet this extra demand
    This is not a reflection on NHS clinical staff
    To reduce the load on the NHS people are being asked to reduce the spread of the disease
    The public (herd) have been confused by the media’s self interested hysteria (they get paid regardless and love the attention) into believing they are at great personal risk and it is all the fault of Covid19/ Wuhan Flu/ Kung Flu
    When the true culprits are:
    1) Absence of disaster planning by Government – yes they should have had a plan ready to wheel out
    2) Years of NHS underfunding by successive governments
    3) Flat footed Government; inability to prepare in January 2020
    4) Irresponsible media – BBC pursuing anti-Johnson agenda and ratings drive
    5) Amateurish Government response in crisis – eg shutting down Nation – when problems are local – if no critical care beds in Dorset implement appropriate measures there – don’t shut down everywhere unless necessary

    Going forward this can be constructive if we realise the hyper intelligent, inexperienced power seeking MP is not the right person to be running departments eg Health, Defence, Education – where they likely have no talent, experience or knowledge.

  8. Agree. I think it’s highly likely the genie has been out of the bottle for some time. They are behind the wave, not ahead of it.

  9. “Years of NHS underfunding by successive governments”

    Underfunding? Isn’t one of the great claims for the NHS how ‘efficient’ it is? Having a health service with lots of space capacity would destroy that claim.

  10. Underfunding of the NHS?
    We now spend roughly European average on NHS, to get one of the most inept services.
    Other countries have a more effective system as it isn’t national – it’s local.
    Also Public Health England alone pissed away 4.5 billion last year on woke bollocks.
    That would have paid for german levels of ventilators, 100 field hospitals and enough stockpiled Chloroquine to give all 60 million of us a course, so we wouldn’t need the extra ventilators anyway.
    (How often are there appeals in US papers to send sick kids to Britain for world leading treatment not available elsewhere- the reverse is frequent enough despite US health care being allegedly crap compared to the NHS)

  11. Very interesting reading, a few weeks ago when there were a hundred or so cases, the CMO suggested there were 5,000 to 10,000 cases likely. Given the suggestion in the Telegraph today that the UK cases might have started a month earlier, one has to suspect that the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. With any luck, the severe cases we’re seeing right now are a spiked tail rather than the start of the curve.

    It does seem odd that so many famous people are testing positive – Justin Trudeau’s wife, Tom Hanks, Mikel Arteta and now Prince Charles. An eclectic group who surely don’t mix in the same circles, only perhaps sharing international travel as a common thread. But how could a pandemic ‘in its infancy’ already have reached so many who are unlikely to use public transport or come into close proximity with the great un-washed, if not for the fact that it might have spread earlier, wider and faster than previously thought?

  12. “Yes, perhaps they just pumped some data into a climate model eh?”

    My thoughts exactly – and now (thanks to Covid-19) Climate Change looks as if it will be pushed back to become only the “Second Worse” piece of economic suicide ever committed by a UK government.

  13. “But how could a pandemic ‘in its infancy’ already have reached so many who are unlikely to use public transport or come into close proximity with the great un-washed, if not for the fact that it might have spread earlier, wider and faster than previously thought?”

    Good question that is not being looked at. Another one is have they tested aircrew? That should be a population with a very high infection rate if the claims are true.

  14. From that link I see that the title of Professor Neil Ferguson’s paper begins with ” Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions …”

    Has there been much public discussion of the effects of pharmaceutical interventions?

    As part of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) there is a Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M). Previous work by SPI-M has covered the effects of social distancing *and* medical interventions and concluded that anti-virals, antibiotics and vaccines can each make a difference. SPI-M’s ‘consensus statements’ as part of the SAGE response to COVID-19 appear to make no references to medical interventions.



  15. Hector

    Late to the discussion, but still.

    I listened to some of Ferguson’s evidence, and in stepping back I *think* all he said was
    – we said that if nothing was done, there could be 400-500K deaths in the UK
    – we said that if you put the effective social isolation things in place, likely deaths would drop into the 20K range
    – looking at it all now, holy mierda, looks like we were right about the social isolation – it’s working!

    I don’t think it’s correct to blame him for backtracking; many things, yes, but I think he’s consistent.

    So the obvious question – having looked at all the other data you’ve collected (thanks!) is – so why is the glorious NHS said to be facing a disaster (along with every other health service) of under-resourcing?

    If Governor Cuomo of NY State is to be believed, the big difference isn’t lethality or anything. It’s simply that once on a ventilator, a COVID19 patient may well be there for 10-25 days – sometimes longer. Typical ventilator ‘leases’ are 2-3 days.

    So the number of incoming aren’t much different, but they stay there 10x as long. This has much the same effect as 10x incoming, and 10x is way more of a capacity margin than anyone (apart from Schwarzenegger, apparently) would plan for.

    I’ve looked to see if I could find any data that supports Cuomo’s assertion, but I haven’t found any.

    None of this is to say that Ferguson is competent or even correct. But we’re agreed that his paper was “just computer simulations” based on a bunch of assumptions – NOT a prediction; and that the data used was annoyingly low in quality.

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