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.)