Epidemiologist lowers original catastrophic death prediction

Neil Ferguson was head of the Imperial College London epidemiology study that predicted that, if Britain continued with its experiment of locking up vulnerable people and letting others develop herd immunity, more than 500,000 people would die in Britain.  In the same study, Ferguson and his team said that if America applied Britain's initial limited-quarantine model, there would be more than 2.2 million American deaths.  His research caused both countries to start imposing extreme social distancing and quarantine measures.

Ferguson and his Imperial College London team have put out a new study, this one severely downgrading the earlier prediction.  This time, Ferguson and his team believe that British deaths will not exceed 20,000 and could be lower.  The report also indicates that the majority of victims — the aged and sick — are (sadly) likely to die within a year, regardless of the coronavirus.  The study's authors also think the virus's bell curve will play itself out over 2–3 weeks rather than 18 months.

People instantly began to lambaste Ferguson for changing his predictions so dramatically.  Most assumed that he had gotten his prediction wrong the first time and was correcting.  However, in a series of tweets, Ferguson explained that the downgraded mortality rate, from 500,000 deaths to around 20,000, is based upon the United Kingdom's newly imposed social distancing and other health initiatives.

Ferguson's revised prediction is consistent with the Scott Adams theory, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago:

Some time ago, during a podcast, Scott Adams stated a theory about panics that I hope I'm not about to bungle.  His theory, as I understood it, is that modern panics bring cures.

In the old days, people panicked, and that was all that they could do.  They did not understand germ theory; they did not know about viruses; and they could not create vaccines, treat symptoms, or come up with cures.  Panic was both the beginning and the end when it came to dealing with terrible things.

In the modern era, though, Adams noted that when we see a crisis coming, we are able to address it.  The Y2K panic is a clear example of our modern reactive abilities.  People raised the alarm, people got worried, and people figured out how to fix things.  We also got a handle on H1N1, although it killed a lot of people first (not that the media cared, because it didn't involve Trump).

No matter how much the Democrats complain, Trump did the most important thing he could when he blocked flights from China in January and started pushing the bureaucratic monster that is the federal government to work on the virus: he bought us time — time in which to sequence genomes, invent vaccines, work on treatments, and change American behavior.

Steve McCann adds:

To date, this study has yet to be peer-reviewed, and its lead author, Neil Ferguson, has refused to share the algorithms or methodology used in the models.  But he was quite willing to fan the flames of panic when he said the potential impacts of the coronavirus were comparable to the devastating 1918 influenza outbreak (which killed between 50 and 75 million worldwide).  Further, it would "kind of overwhelm health system capacity in any developed country, including the United States" unless measures they recommended to reduce the spread of the virus were taken.

As a side note, it should be highlighted that this same institution, the Imperial College (a bastion of leftism), has, over the years, also predicted innumerable catastrophic global warming scenarios that have proven to be false and misleading.

It should also be noted that based on current data, which include how many may have contracted the virus and are unaware or have no symptoms, the actual mortality rate is likely to be around or less than 0.5%, not the 9% Mr. Ferguson's group projected.

Meanwhile, this nation is plunging itself into a potential depression and societal unrest based on ridiculously faulty computer models and projections.  It is time for the nation's media and medical elites to admit their errors and concentrate on getting the United States back to work and be extremely judicious in accepting future prognostications that are not thoroughly peer-reviewed.

Additionally, this same reliance on inadvertent or deliberately flawed computer models permeates the climate change or green movement.  If the Imperial College scientists can be so devastatingly wrong about something in real time, how can anyone believe what so-called climate experts say will happen in 25, 50, or 100 years?

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