by Freddie Sayers
Saturday, 26
December 2020
Seen Elsewhere
07:00

Neil Ferguson interview: China changed what was possible

The Professor has given an extraordinary interview to The Times
by Freddie Sayers
Professor Ferguson in our April interview on LockdownTV

Professor Neil Ferguson has given an extraordinary interview to Tom Whipple at The Times, in which he confirms the degree to which he believes that imitating China’s lockdown policies at the start of 2020 changed the parameters of what Western societies consider acceptable.

“I think people’s sense of what is possible in terms of control changed quite dramatically between January and March,” Professor Ferguson says. When SAGE observed the “innovative intervention” out of China, of locking entire communities down and not permitting them to leave their homes, they initially presumed it would not be an available option in a liberal Western democracy:

It’s a communist one party state, we said. We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought… and then Italy did it. And we realised we could.
- Professor Neil Ferguson, The Times

He almost seems at pains to emphasise the Chinese derivation of the lockdown concept, returning to it later in the interview:

“These days, lockdown feels inevitable. It was, he reminds me, anything but. “If China had not done it,” he says, “the year would have been very different.””

To those people who, still now, object to lockdowns on civil liberties principles, this will be a chilling reminder of the centrality of the authoritarian Chinese model in influencing global policy in this historic year.

The Manaus Conundrum

Also contained within the same interview is a passage about Manaus, the city in the Brazilian rainforest that has come to be referred to as a counter-example of what might have happened with minimal interventions. Whipple refers to “an orthodoxy on some sections of the Right” that Professor Ferguson got his initial predictions wrong, but asserts that the experience in Manaus comes close to proving him right.

Where people did not change their behaviour it has not been pretty. In Manaus, Brazil, a city of 2.2 million people seems to have had at least 45 per cent infection, probably 70 per cent, and the results aren’t that far from the apocalypse of the March 16 paper. In April gravediggers had to work at night. Coffins ran out. Bodies were buried in trenches.
- Tom Whipple, The Times

But aside from the details about gravediggers and bodies being buried in trenches that have been cited in many articles about Manaus, I can’t seem to make the maths work.

The March 16th paper that Whipple is referring to forecast that in a scenario without interventions, 81% of the UK population would become infected, and that 0.9% of them would die, ie 510,000 fatalities. That, famously, was the scenario that bounced the UK government into changing its approach.

But Manaus is a city of 2.2 million people. If we are to use it as proof that he was right, we should expect to have seen c 1.8m infections and c 16,000 deaths. As of today, the Brazilian health authority records 3,297 deaths in Manaus— a tragically high number but less than a quarter of the Ferguson scenario. Whipple suggests that between 45% and 70% of the city has been infected, but even if deaths have been miscounted and there were twice as many, it wouldn’t come close to the Ferguson projections.

Maybe I’ve missed something here, but how are these results ‘not far from the apocalypse of the March 16th paper’?

The Brazilian health agency records 3,297 deaths in Manaus as of today

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David Slade
David Slade
1 year ago

I read the article in the Times – frankly, disappointed from the ‘paper of record’

No mention of the worse death rate in the world – Peru – with the strictest lockdown; no mention of counter examples of favourable outcomes in countries with light to no lockdown (Belarus; Sweden; Switzerland etc.) No mention of US states with light or no lockdown(Florida) to those with strict Lockdown (New York) and the resultant health outcomes. No asking the professor if he acknowledged the harm lockdown causes or felt any regret.

A huge let down and a missed opportunity from The Times. Ferguson was not pushed on the crucial point – just cause you can get away with copying China; doesn’t mean you should.

Some prices aren’t worth paying.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  David Slade

Why has China had 4 deaths per million (worldometers) and Cambodia 0 and Vietnam 0.4, and these numbers in every country on the West Pacific! The West runs about 600 – 1000 deaths per million.

No way did welding doors shut kind of lockdown produce this result. China recently had their Thanksgiving Holiday on steroids where half the people in China move around visiting family with no cases.

This guy Ferguson seems to be very much up to something with his focus on this and ignoring that.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Susceptibility of the population is key…. look at the co-morbidities.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago

Yea, but we have 200 times the deaths. And even if it is entirely to the lack of Western Pacific comorbidity, this was well known, this result would have been anticipated.

Loosing the covid when it destroys someone else, someone you are in computation with at the same time your side will not suffer, but theirs will, is how it looks. By accident? At this point…. It is not quite like the invasion of Poland, or Pearl Harbor, for clarity, but has a similar effect.

judykwarner
judykwarner
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Two things that I know of. East Asia has had more epidemics of related viruses so there is more immunity. And in at least some of those countries hydroxychloroquine is widely used.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
1 year ago
Reply to  judykwarner

I live in SE Asia so have a view on this. No they do not have more immunity, they have more experience in the horror that were both SARS and MERS. These didn’t make it to the west. So when someone says mask up, they are already there.

As for hydroxy… almost any drug is available in generic form OTC here but I’ve never seen hydroxy.

To give a flavour of what happens when ‘clusters’ of new outbreaks are confirmed is that the army goes in and encloses the tower block, village, whatever with barbed wire and guards it with machine gun toting army personnel for the required quarantine period. Then they leave. Nobody in or out. Only deliveries. It works but then again the countries aren’t testing anywhere near the numbers that they are in the West so the statistics could be highly skewed.

Suze Burtenshaw
Suze Burtenshaw
1 year ago

‘We couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought. Then Italy did it and we realised we could.’
Does anyone else feel an ice cold chill run down their spine when reading those words?

Jan Cunningham
Jan Cunningham
1 year ago

Yes

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

Oh my goodness, yes!

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago

Unbelievable!

gregorconnelly
gregorconnelly
1 year ago

I’m amazed at how everyone treats Mr Ferguson with credibility. While the country was locked down absolutely terrified of this virus with a survival rate of 99.87% this guy was deliberately the lockdown rules!

Zero credibility. How dare he quote China as exemplary in anything a country where people disappear off the streets where thousands of unwanted baby girls are flushed down the toilet. Where dogs are boiled alive by the millions ……give it a rest get this man out of our faces he’s NO expert!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
1 year ago
Reply to  gregorconnelly

You have omitted his overwhelming desire to copulate with his concubine!
Thus breaching the very ‘rules ‘ he espoused. To use the vernacular “scumbag”.

As to the wretched Chinese, nuke them now and be done with them. They are an abomination to mankind.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
1 year ago

Looks like the rehabilitation of Ferguson (along with his dubious computer model) is well underway. It seems he never really went away but just disappeared into the shadows until his “flouting of the lockdown” became old news that nobody really cares about anyway.

Expect to see Ferguson turning up as an expert lockdown advocate on the TV news sometime soon ““ referencing his computer model as though it had never been called into question.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

This is because Boris has Destroyed UK, as all the Western, office work based, nations have. They have to keep up the narrative.

Imagine if your economy was based on call centers and international phone costs reduced to zero. The Philippines and India with their experience of English open schools for English call center workers to get fluent, and in a few years the call center jobs have offshored. Like manufacturing TVs and Shoes.

The ‘Office’ protected the jobs by requiring Work Visas to work at them. That is gone with WFH (work from home) Lockdowns just made all the real wealth in the West open to the world. WFH in Manila. It will take a few years for those jobs in Italian and German to be taken as those language still lags the ubiquity of English, but as sure as anything, Boris’s craven response to covid-19 has wrecked UK.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

They’ll have to rehabilitate Ferguson otherwise they have to explain that the lockdowns were a massive over reaction to 13 year old computer models for influenza that Ferguson tried to hide.

Paul Reidinger
Paul Reidinger
1 year ago

Do people expect to have their civil liberties — indeed, their basic human rights — just handed back to them at some point like a packet of dry cleaning, with all the shirts neatly pressed? That will not happen. These people mean business, and they do not mean well. Fundamental Western ideas about the rights of man have splintered and crumbled like lengths of rotten lumber. If there is not, soon, a major pushback against these terrible measures, there will be no later chance to do so. As the conditioning and submission take hold, the window for correction closes. It is well past time for someone to blow the Horn-call of Buckland: Fear, fire, foes, awake!

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Reidinger

I was absolutely horrified at how quickly and easily people surrendered their freedoms and then dared to criticise the ones pleading for freedoms to be given weight in the discussion for being inhumane! The concept of proportionality seemed to go MIA for weeks on end, only making a reappearance in summer. Those of Ferguson’s ilk – the ones who don’t ask what is necessary and proportionate in the situation, but ask “what is it possible for the state to get away with” – took over. It was very frightening. And the fact that we’re all getting used to having our freedoms deprived is even worse. We must remain vigilant and loudly reclaim all our freedoms once this drama is over.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
1 year ago

I’m sorry, but every time Neil Ferguson’s name comes up I remember the absurd, scandalously wrong projections of doom, gloom and death that he has made in the past – swine flu, BSE, bird flu. The man must surely be a laughing stock amongst professional epidemiologists.

He was a key person, along with Christian Drosten in generating alarm during the swine flu ‘pandemic’, which, in hindsight, does look like a dry run for Covid-19. Fortunately, swine flu turned out not to be too infectious, 100s of millions of pounds worth of vaccines were junked and, fortunately, the population was not vaccinated unnecessarily.

This time around it’s different, lessons have been learned and it’s full-speed ahead – scare the population into submission, break their will and vaccinate as many people as possible – ignoring previously established procedures for handling pandemics and, instead, enforcing ineffectual lockdowns, mask wearing, and the isolation of healthy non-infectious individuals. Bizarrely, large numbers of the population have accepted this, almost without question which certainly does not bode well for the future.

It is clear that many people will not accept the dystopian ‘new normal’ and encouraging that lawsuits are being prepared in Germany, USA and Canada to attack the whole basis for PCR testing, which is widely acknowledged (even by PHE) not to be capable of proving infection, and also the legality of lockdowns. This will, no doubt, take a few months but the scientific evidence is on the side of the plaintiffs.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Perkins

absurd, scandalously wrong projections of doom, gloom and death that he has made in the past – swine flu, BSE, bird flu.

Let’s take them one by one.

In 2009, Ferguson and his team at Imperial College advised the government that swine flu or H1N1 would probably kill 65,000 people in the UK. In the end, swine flu claimed the lives of 457 people in the UK.

No he didn’t. He was asked for a Reasonable Worst Case estimate. RWCs are explicitly not predictions.

In 2002, Ferguson predicted that up to 50,000 people would die from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, better known as “mad cow disease”. 178 people in the United Kingdom have died from vCJD, according to the National CJD Research & Surveillance Unit at the University of Edinburgh.

No, he didn’t. His estimate for deaths over 80 years from vCJD was between 50 (that’s fifty, not fifty thousand) and 150,000 as a 95% confidence interval, and to quote the paper

Best-fit estimates associated with 2001-2080 confidence bounds generally lie in the range 100-1,000,

It turned out to be 177 over 20 years, which is, obviously, consistent with both the wider and the narrower estimate. Of course the media reported the more exciting “up to” figure rather than “as low as 50”. I agree that an estimate covering some four orders of magnitude would in general be better expressed in public as “we don’t know”.

From Nature, 10 January 2002

“We cannot exclude the possibility that the epidemic is very large,” says Ferguson. He adds, however, that the worst-case situation is by far the most unlikely.

So his central estimates were 100-1000 over 80 years, and we’ve had 178 over 20 years. Sounds quite good to me.

In 2005, Ferguson claimed that up to 200 million people would be killed by bird-flu or H5N1. By early 2006, the WHO had only linked 78 deaths to the virus, out of 147 reported cases.

No he didn’t. From Nature, 08 September 2005 (my emphasis)

The epidemiologist at Imperial College London wanted to know what would happen if the avian influenza virus H5N1 mutated so that it could pass readily from human to human..

So if avian flu had become human transmissible, then … . But it didn’t and 200 million people didn’t die. Which is good, … .

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

“No he didn’t. He was asked for a Reasonable Worst Case estimate. RWCs are explicitly not predictions.”

Incorrect. In fact, he said it was likely to affect 1/3 of the world population. Massively wrong. Here he was in The Guardian….

“Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “It is likely to spread around the world in the next six to nine months, and when it does so, it will affect about one-third of the world’s population.”

Actual death count H1N1 2003-2009……282 people worldwide.

Why do you think other scientists call Ferguson “The Master of Disaster”?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

In fact, he said it was likely to affect 1/3 of the world population. Massively wrong.

It infected about 20% of the world’s population. Is that “massively wrong”?

Actual death count H1N1 2003-2009……282 people worldwide.

Now there’s something that’s massively wrong: the confirmed global deaths for H1N1 in 2009 were 18,449 and the estimated total was between 150,000 to 575,000. The 282 figure is lab-certified deaths for England.

He was asked for a Reasonable Worst Case estimate. RWCs are explicitly not predictions.”

Incorrect.

It is correct as stated. Ferguson was asked by the UK government for a RWC, and RWC are not predictions. This is detailed in the Hines report

Derek Bryce
Derek Bryce
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Hi Neil.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Bryce

If by that you’re implying that I am him, or posting on his behalf, then that is incorrect. I am openly posting here under my own real name. I have never met Prof. Ferguson, and have no connexion with him or his research group.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

You might be his mom though.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago

Guffaws ;)))

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

Who else would be so gullible?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

You’re correct 282 is for the UK. In any case, hardly 1/3 of the worlds population even at less than 20,000 worldwide.

But you are incorrect about reasonable worst case. Read his statement again… “Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “It is likely to spread around the world in the next six to nine months, and when it does so, it will affect about one-third of the world’s population.”

Note the words “likely” and “when it does so” which is not worst case. He, in fact, said it was likely that 1/3 of the world population would be affected.

Ferguson has been so repeatedly wrong and over the top that even other scientists don’t trust him or quote him. That alone should tell you something. If you want to believe that his words are wisdom from God, you may certainly continue to do so. But refusing to recognize that his credibility with many others is shot to pieces is just naive. Then there’s his hypocrisy on top of his shoddy predictions.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

He, in fact, said it was likely that 1/3 of the world population would be affected.

“Affected” is not the same as “killed”. It’s not even the same as “infected”.

Ferguson did indeed contribute an RWC estimate, although of course that was not by means of a media interview.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

No one said affected meant killed. Or even infected. Clearly you are unable to admit his statement was massively wrong. If you have some evidence that he was correct, by all means, post it. Note that even he hasn’t attempted to do this.

His quote, which I provided twice was not only massively wrong, it was not a RWC. There’s gullible then there’s just blind.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

He said “it will affect about one-third of the world’s population”. As I already posted, about one-fifth of the world’s population is thought to have been infected. So yes, an over-estimate, but not, I suggest “massively wrong”.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

You are arguing about terminology. The general public and the media typically do not differentiate between projections, predictions and scenarios. When experienced scientists (particularly people like Ferguson who have been round the loop many times) are interviewed by the media they know perfectly well the effect their words will have – it would be disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

Whenever Ferguson is interviewed the BBC he purposely includes comments which are intended to scare and influence people into accepting measures which he thinks should be adopted. He does not speak openly and honestly about the science, he gives his own open-sided views.

For example, I have never heard him speak about the likely level of natural immunity to Covid-19, which some scientists estimate is at a high-level and in fact what limited the extent of the first wave of the epidemic. Indeed, I understand that natural immunity was not included in his computer model back in Feb/March.

He never speaks about the lack of evidence for asymptomatic transmission being a significant driver. Even Faucci now admits this is the case. In a recent meta-study of research into household transmission, the rate of transmission from an asymptomatic person was 1/25th that of a symptomatic person.

Also, he never speaks about the current estimates for the Infection Fatality Ratio which leading epidemiologists (including Dr John Ioannides) now estimate is around 0.3% or lower.

Ferguson’s main achievement is to have spread fear amongst both our politicians and the public.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Perkins

You are arguing about terminology. The general public and the media typically do not differentiate between projections, predictions and scenarios.

True and regrettable. Are you suggesting that we should therefore be equally confused and confusing?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Better predictions from the scientists would be a great start.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

If I’m correct you are in your ‘third’ age, as you describe it?
Formerly a mathematician who taught at University level, then moved to the Civil Service and now like me, are waiting for death?

Presumably you didn’t have a Comprehensive Education, but had the good fortune to go to one of our former splendid Grammar Schools or perhaps a Public School?

Despite these advantages you continue to defend Ferguson despite the valid criticism of Philip Perkins, that his utterances have terrified both politicians and public alike.

For some perverse reason he is abusing his trusted position as an ‘expert’, and spreading fear and despondency. In a previous age he would have been rightfully hanged.

That the British Public should have to endure this creature is an outrage, but in all fairness someone has to defend him. I admire your courage, but don’t expect an easy ride.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Correct. In the third half of my career, I’m a (paid) consultant and (honorary=unpaid) Vice-President of my professional body. I was fortunate to go to an independent school, yes, although I don’t see what that has to do with, well ,anything much. Ferguson went to a comprehensive, and I don’t think that’s so terribly relevant either.

You’ll have noticed that I’m not so much defending Ferguson as a person (I’ve never met him), but the use and value of mathematical techniques in epidemiology. There are a lot of people who rail against modelling in terms which I find quite irrational, or rather, are driven by an extreme dislike for the policies those models are thought to support. They rail against modellers too, of whom Ferguson happens to have a particularly high profile.

You’ll also have noticed that I don’t endorse his public pronouncements as such, merely identify what it is that he has actually said and suggest that he be judged by what he said rather than by what other people say.

(As a supplementary point here: I am surprised by the freedom that certain SAGE members and advisers seem to feel they have to make public pronouncements outside SAGE on SAGE-related matters. I realise that they are not civil servants, but I would have expected a much greater degree of circumspection. Prof David Nutt, you will recall, was sacked from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for speaking publicly about his position on drug classification issues.)

I’m also trying to emphasise the difference between predictions (X will happen), conditional predictions (if Y happens then Z will follow), and Reasonable Worst Cases (W might happen, could we cope if it does?). These differences are still not appreciated by public, press or, it seems, all policy-makers or politicians.

David Owsley
David Owsley
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Good comment, I am surprised you have been downvoted. I am in the ‘hate  Ferguson’ camp for the repeated failures (especially re cattle!) but they are not so much failures but a (government backed?) ‘not the whole truth’ which the mad media then latch onto. And what you say here is what you intend: calming troubled waters!

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Perkins

Ferguson ”Pantsdown” philosophy, Nobody has been fired for Overprojection of deaths.. He WAS Wrong on Bird Flu,Sika Virus ,SARS1 ,SARS2(covid) CJD how many times does he have to be Wrong..

Tim Gardener
Tim Gardener
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

There is a detailed critique of Ferguson’s disastrous contribution to the 2001 policy fiasco of Foot and Mouth Disease in the paper by Kitching et al

Use and abuse of mathematical models: an illustration from the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in the United Kingdom

“Any mathematical model requires appropriate input parameters that accurately reflect the behaviour of the system that is being modelled. It must then be seeded with data. The level of understanding of the system, and the quality of theavailable data, determine the appropriate application of the model. Prediction should only be attempted if both are good.”

The basics of good practice in modelling have simply not been followed.

https://www.research.ed.ac….

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

“A maximum of 136″ˆ000 cases of new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) could occur in Great Britain in the aftermath of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic, according to calculations by Neil Ferguson and colleagues at the University of Oxford, UK. This figure is much lower than their previous prediction of a maximum of 500″ˆ000 cases” The Lancet, 12 Aug 2000, Volume 356, Issue 9229, P570.

Seems Ferguson likes initially rounding up to the nearest half million.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

So estimates, or rather the confidence intervals around them, tend to narrow as data comes in. Why is that surprising? The paper I quoted, incidentally, was Nature 2002 Jan 24;415(6870):420-4. doi: 10.1038/nature709. I don’t know where the Lancet got their figure from.

But the point remains. Selectively quoting the upper (or lower, come to that) range of a 95% confidence interval and talking about it as if it had been a central estimate is not useful.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

I would describe a drop from 500,000 to 136,000 and, according to your later source, 50-150,000 as being a somewhat more dramatic revision than your comment that estimates ‘tend to narrow’. The problem is that harmful policy is developed on the back of Ferguson’s early alarmist figures and is not helped by him taking to the media talking up the dangers and suggesting changes in policy.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

Why? The top range of the 95% confidence interval means something along the lines of saying “We thought the chance was less than 2.5% that the number would be above 500,000 (or whatever): now that more data has come in, we think the chance is less than 2.5% than it will be more than 150,000 (or whatever)”. That really doesn’t sound so terribly exciting to me., particularly since he also said “the worst-case situation is by far the most unlikely.” I would tend to focus on the quotes “Best-fit estimates […] generally lie in the range 100-1,000” which is m ore like an actual prediction. But of course those numbers aren’t exciting enough for a media headline — and also, for some reason, ignored by those who are so keen to talk him down.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

I think the justification for massively missing it is that once we know all the actual figures, Ferguson will be spot on. Till then alarmism isn’t a bad way to go.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Why the needless slaughter of cattle in 2001?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

I think the Foot and Mouth disaster was, well, a disaster. Was Ferguson’s model the sole cause of that? No.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

There comes a point when the defence of the indefensible needs to stop. The veterinary profession would have quite happily lynched him.

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

Put the blame for Foot and Mouth where it belongs.
1) incompetence on the part of the, then, government. They didn’t stop movement of cattle fast enough.
2) DEFRA incompetence, both in killing unnecessarily, and in incompetence in the testing laboratories giving false positives because of cross contamination.
3) refusal to adopt the Belgian/French method of vaccination around a 10 km area.
None of that was down to Furguson.
As for vets, many were complicit in the mass killing.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
1 year ago

Really EU 27 Banned Local abattoir and aided transportation ver longer distances… Yet Remainiacs still Claim with live Exports &Bullfighting they have ”Better” treatment of Animals!!

vonni du val
vonni du val
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

aided an abetted by the farmers!

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Perkins

How many wrong predictions does one have to make before getting fired for incompetence? Ferguson said what he thought the government wanted him to say to justify economy wrecking shutdowns that hurt those who can’t work from home the most. He is the Fauci on the UK side of the pond. Still collecting a hefty paycheck no matter how wrong he is or how much damage he does.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
1 year ago

Didn’t he get Foot and Mouth disastrously wrong too?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago

And H1N1. How he still has a job is a mystery. His covid alarmism, 550,000 dead in the UK and 2.2 million in the US alone, coupled with refusal to let anyone see his code, should be enough to end his tenure. He has politicized covid by being willing to provide far fetched number that led to lockdowns which of course didn’t work since the UK is now locking down again. Fauci is doing the same thing in the US, but of course he still gets a hefty paycheck even during lockdown. The “little people” of course do not.

vonni du val
vonni du val
1 year ago

Thea reason he still has a job is because Bill Gates is his paymaster!

vonni du val
vonni du val
1 year ago

Absolutely he did! millions of healthy animals needlessly slaughtered! totally criminal!

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
1 year ago

There are many good outcomes that have a price that’s not worth paying. Professor Ferguson is an admirer of a totalitarian state and believes emulating their strategies is justified to tackle a virus that for most people is unpleasant but not lethal. Our government like many others around the world have discovered that their electorate will accept restrictions on their liberty on very flimsy grounds. Does anyone believe they will not use these powers in the future. We need protecting from those who do things for our safety.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
1 year ago

I think we are now seeing an exercise in shifting blame frome government to populace. Not many people are now prepared to state simply that Covid was an excuse to bring forward a global readjustment.

Covid is a nasty flu. It seems there was no real peak as many thousands of people suggested they had indeed had this strain in December 2019. They had survived. The government have quietly put aside their own knowledge that this flu was already giving doctors a headache because the very bad cough and particularly high temperature was concerning. The worst of the outbreak was already passing in March as flu season came to an end.

The funerals are no higher than any other year. Deaths relating solely to flu as recorded in the past are lower with the two previous really bad outbreaks in 2009 and 2013 being nearly 60,000 deaths in each case.

Then there is the question of why there was such a military coordination around the world on Covid treatment with hospitals even designed by China and the very best age old flu medication universally outlawed and no autopsies allowed.

Again no questions asked as to why year after year there has been concern in Northern climates for old people who cannot afford to keep warm in winter and yet, suddenly, everyone has to have windows and doors wide open, only meeting Granny in the freezing cold wet and windy weather.

The anomalies and contradictions all governments have been cruelly spouting to their citizens should have been challenged fiercely. But then look at the countries who followed the mantra. Those governments have strong connections to CCP via their globalist lobbyists and governmental grants to the medical colleges and committees. When journalists finally grow a moral compass and start asking the real questions and delving into the real reasons for bringing down the Western economy, we may just get to the truth of this terrible catastrophic destruction of peoples lives and livelihoods.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Morality is based on community values. (a headhunter thinks it moral to kill strangers) And the journalists are all living in a cloud of Liberal luvvies it would seem. Therefore their moral compass points permanently in the opposite direction from right.

What they need is an ethical compass, ethics being universal right and wrong, like say the 10 commandments.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Covid is a nasty flu.

No it isn’t. It’s a corona virus, a different sort of virus to influenza.

It seems there was no real peak as many thousands of people suggested they had indeed had this strain in December 2019. […] The worst of the outbreak was already passing in March as flu season came to an end. The funerals are no higher than any other year.

This is false, as far as the UK is concerned. There was a large increase in excess mortality starting in March.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

“Large increase in excess mortality starting in March”.

Yes, and ending well before the end of May, which is when the earlier (ineffective) NPIs, should have been removed, if not earlier.

Nino Braun
Nino Braun
1 year ago

Why the **** is anybody listening to this clown. I don’t give a **** about his opinion. This guy has made a career of fear mongering and being extremely wrong. This guy is the typical elitest idiot following the motto ‘rules for thee, not for me’ and your stupid ‘newspapers’ are still quoting this dimwit even though nothing this guy seems to say is accurate. Go **** that married woman during your lockdown again

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

Is Ferguson sane? (I ask this in all seriousness.)
He seems to be the epidemiological version of the kind of military general who is always making a most extravagant argument for going to war with other countries: not because (at bottom) there is merit in his thinking but because he is only going to be able to strut around, feel very important, and acquire additional gongs if his nation is embattled and he is directing (or pretending to direct) a series of deadly conflicts.
This same professor made preposterous claims about infection at the time of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001, and it led to a mass cull – horrible, cruel, unnecessary – of vast numbers of healthy farm animals.
How on earth anybody, in Downing St or anywhere else, took him seriously after that beggars imagination.
For an illustration of how Vanity can work wonders of Evil, Neil Ferguson seems to me a textbook case.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

He was only included because they knew that he could be relied upon to present the desired worst case scenario.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

I can’t seem to make the maths work.

There are two main differences between the Manaus experience and the estimates made by Ferguson. One is that the Infection Fatality Rate estimated for Manaus is around 0.3% rather than 0.9%. This almost entirely accounts for the discrepancy. The authors of the paper from which this is taken observe that the IFR by age-group is pretty similar, but that Manaus has a significantly younger population profile. The other is that the infection rate is estimated as between 45-60%, not 80%, suggesting either or both of some reduction in the rate of spread by informal social changes and/or some level of pre-existing resistance.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Yes, IFR is not a constant of nature, but depends on the population’s age structure.

You don’t need any fancy models to get to some terrible conclusions for the UK. If the IFR is 0.5% here and R0 is around 3, you need around 2/3 of people to get it to reach herd community (R0 of 3 means one infected person passes it on to 3 more but at herd immunity, 2/3 of people already had it and so are immune, which means only 1 of those 3 actually gets it and the pandemic stops growing). 2/3 of people in the UK is 44 million. 0.5% of those die, so there’s your 220000 predicted deaths without me having to write a single line of C.

As it happens, I bet I’ve written more lines of C than the people on here going on about Fergusson’s code. John Carmack’s likely to beat me, though, and he thought it was OK: “That was my fear ” what if the code turned out to be a horror show, making all the simulations questionable? I can’t vouch for the actual algorithms, but the software engineering seems fine.” (@ID_AA_Carmack on Twitter, Apr 27).

David Slade
David Slade
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

It always strikes me as odd that Ferguson’s defenders (as well as his detractors) argue on purely epidemiological grounds, when the argument against Lockdowns/NPI is an ethical one.

There are numerical indicators of the ethical argument against Lockdowns – 560,000 lives cut short due to economic downturn (predictable since a Bristol University report about health impacts of economic contractions published about the same time as ICL paper).

You can add to that 227 million people across the world plunged back in to poverty (latest estimate), 11 million children at risk of malnutrition – this in response to a virus that kills people whose average and median ages is in the low to high eighties (depending on country)

I am sure the epidemiologists who support lockdown have superior technical knowledge to me (though I reserve my right to be more convinced by the minority view amongst them).

Let’s not pretend though, that’s the end of the matter. You can not sacrifice the young for the elderly; discard the impoverishment of millions as if it were nothing and turn liberal democracies in to technocratic dystopias and justify it by saying the maths is on your side.

There is simply more at stake than you can realise.

chrisjpj1977
chrisjpj1977
1 year ago
Reply to  David Slade

Your problem is the counterfactual also includes very significant economic damage. People don’t carry on as normal in a pandemic. They alter behaviour irrespective of the government’s policy choices. With no coordination you can absolutely end up with a worst of both worlds scenario with more deaths and similar levels of economic harm.

David Slade
David Slade
1 year ago
Reply to  chrisjpj1977

Yes, that’s initially a fair point – people will change their behaviour leading to a certain amount of economic upheaval. However, the deliberate strategy (either officially depending on how you interpret the guidance of SAGE or certainly by implication from the media coverage) was to deliberately keep levels of anxiety and fear of this virus high in order to ensure compliance.

I would argue this is a dereliction of duty in the public health sphere – which should be more about education and empowerment of individuals to look after themselves. It should be about contextualising the threat of the virus.

There is no excuse for an absence of context and nuance – if you are not willing to introduce those things, then your argument about people changing their behaviour anyway becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. It is not, however, inevitable.

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  David Slade

If you want to see what a change in behaviour looks like, try seeing what happens when the hospitals can no longer function. That would see a reduction in economic activity greater than a lockdown.

Arguably, in the UK at least, all we have done is try to stop the hospitals overflowing, nothing else. Is that really so controversial?

David Slade
David Slade
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

Again, it depends how much collateral harm you are willing to cause – saving the health service by sacrificing the nations health is slightly perverse and is indeed controversial..

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  David Slade

You missed my point. If you have too few covid restrictions, the hospitals will overflow and that will cause a greater contraction in economic activity than the restrictions would. So we need covid restrictions to prevent further economic damage.

We are saving the health service so it does not collapse and cause greater damage to the economy than the lockdown itself.

I am no NHS fanatic. I think there are questions about the clinical response to COVID that no one seems to be prepared to ask. It’s always ‘Boris man bad’ from the media and opposition, they act as if the entire response to COVID was just one man and no one else we involved (or at least responsible for the outcome).

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

You forget that the NHS now know what they are dealing with, it’s not March, we have effective treatments. Your doomsday scenarios whilst sounding dramatic, the numbers don’t bare out..The Centre for Evidence Based Medicine in Oxford have been looking at the declining case fatality rates over time, and says:

“Crude estimates of the CFR over time show that for people aged 80 and over the average CFR was 29% up to week 18, fell to 17% in weeks 19 to 27, and for mid-July onwards the CFR was 11% ““ a decrease of 61%.

“A larger decrease is seen in the ages 60-79 with average CFR ~ 9% in March/April falling to 2% in July August.”

You should have more faith in the NHS capacity to deal with this, plus we always have the nightingales to fall back on…

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

The people in the NHS say they can’t cope for much longer. We have more people in hospital now than last year (percentage occupancy is about the same, due to expanded capacity) and we have an additional 2000 patients a day being admitted (and rising). The difference between 90% capacity and 100% capacity is about 10K beds. Do the maths.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

The Doomsday projections you give sound terrifying, bodies in car parks, sky falling down…
None of it is borne out by fact…
We have a vaccine, the elderly and vulnerable should take sensible precautions and shield until spring..
No sky falling down JJ

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

Sometimes people deal with problems or fear by denying the problem exists. Which I am afraid you are doing. The statistics are clear. At least 60K+ people have died from COVID who would not of died without COVID and lost an average of 10 years of life. And that is with restrictions to mitigate transmission. Without restrictions it would be of nearer 200K+ dead and 2 million in hospital.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

Erm I’m not afraid, and I realise the problem. Sometimes people can’t handle when others have an alternative point of view and try to shut down that opinion by using fear, hysteria and downright propoganda to get their people to tow the line.

I believe prof Ferguson pretty much ticks that box…

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

I am not shutting you down. I am making you confront the facts, which you keep ignoring. I wish you were correct. To think we could end all of the economic damage and death just by BJ announcing ‘COVID does not exist, we made it up for [enter you favourite conspiracy theory here]’

Prof Ferguson is the one of the most qualified and experienced infectious disease epidemiologist in the world. Just because you read on twitter that he is retarded or part of some lizard conspiracy, does not make it true.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

JJ I don’t use Twitter, and now you come to mention it I suppose he does slightly resemble a lizard.. :0

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

Your argument is all based on the premise that lockdowns are effective. Peru had one of the strictest and most prolonged lockdowns but has emerged with one of the worst per capita death tolls and economic contractions in the world. England had a 4 week lockdown in November but shortly afterwards Matt Hancock acknowledged that the virus was ‘out of control’. Hardly an indicator of success.

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

There is no question that ‘lockdowns’ work. The virus spreads primarily through human contact. You reduce human contact, you reduce the spread of the virus. Experience after experience in dozens of countries around the world have proven that lockdowns, or variants of them, work. The most recent UK lockdown reduced transmission, cases, hospitalization by one third (ONS). We are out of control because of the new variant.

Of course once you remove the restrictions, the infections begin to spread again. Proving restrictions work.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

“There is no question that ‘lockdowns’ work”. Except you fail to provide any evidence to back up this statement or even refer to the example of Peru which I raised. Lets just compare two similarly densely populated countries that sit next to each other – Belgium & the Netherlands. The former locked down hard in Spring while the latter had what was described as an “intelligent” (lighter) lockdown. At 27 December, the former had 1,653 deaths per million while the latter had 641 per million. I could go on but perhaps you could provide your evidence before I waste anymore time.

Even if lockdowns did have some impact it is far from clear that they could be justified if the costs and benefits were properly analysed. Unfortunately the Gov’t has made no attempt at a cost benefit analysis and I think I know the reason why.

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

Type in google ‘evidence for non pharmaceutical interventions covid’ (tip: read studies from established medical journals and not online media blogs or some dudes personal website). The evidence is unfolding and contradictory, but its untrue to say there is no evidence.

It’s also not a binary choice between full lockdown and ‘let it rip’ her immunity.

To quote from the lancet:

The arrival of a second wave and the realisation of the challenges ahead has led to renewed interest in a so-called herd immunity approach, which suggests allowing a large uncontrolled outbreak in the low-risk population while protecting the vulnerable. Proponents suggest this would lead to the development of infection-acquired population immunity in the low-risk population, which will eventually protect the vulnerable.
This is a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.
Any pandemic management strategy relying upon immunity from natural infections for COVID-19 is flawed. Uncontrolled transmission in younger people risks significant morbidity3 and mortality across the whole population. In addition to the human cost, this would impact the workforce as a whole and overwhelm the ability of health-care systems to provide acute and routine care. Furthermore, there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following natural infection,4 and the endemic transmission that would be the consequence of waning immunity would present a risk to vulnerable populations for the indefinite future.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

“The evidence [for lockdowns] is unfolding and contradictory, but its untrue to say there is no evidence.” I didn’t say there was no evidence, I just asked you to substantiate your statement that “There is no question that ‘lockdowns’ work”. In fact there are many questions around the effectiveness of lockdowns and whether there are more costs than benefits.

You say that “there is no evidence for lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2”. This is just not true. See the FT article of 02 Nov “T-cell response delivers coronavirus immunity after infection, study shows”. One of several studies recently published.

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Robin Taylor

There is no question lockdowns work to reduce viral transmission. There are questions about how effectively they do this and the associated costs.

You need to take the evidence in it’s entirety an not just focus on one study or newspaper article. They are now picking up levels of antibody prevalence of near 80% in parts of Brazil. That would imply there are not that many people with T cell immunity. It also implies herd immunity does not happen until the overwhelming number of people are infected.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

There have been several studies & you’ve clearly not read the FT article. The discovery was of both antibody prevalence & T-cell immunity after infection with Covid. The indications are that T-cell immunity will last a considerable time.

headcasey669
headcasey669
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

If there’s no money … then there’s going to be no money for the NHS… they knew all this before they took us into a lockdown… the politicians along with people like pantsdown are all dirty filthy rats. Crash the economy and then wheres the money supposed to come from to fund the NHS in the long term???

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  headcasey669

The economy is buggered because of the Pandemic, not because of the government. If the government did nothing, people would be dying in hospital car parks and military field hospitals, I can assure you no one would be nipping out to the pub, a restaurant or a cinema.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

But OAPs will certainly be nipping out to my local coffee shop… Strange how during a pandemic that kills mostly over 80s the demographic of my local coffee shop has changed from pre pandemic..
Young mums meeting together with their babies, toddlers
Office workers having meetings etc
Self employed on laptops
Families with kids
Carers with people they looked after
It was a lovely diverse vibrant place to be…
Now it’s 90% old people sitting with old people….
Wtf is going on…

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

I am unclear what point you are making. Your experience is not consistent with the statistics. Older people have far fewer social contacts and mobility than younger people.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

My experience is not consistent with the statistics…. And yet it is my lived experience….

Weird or what!

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

Oh god ‘your lived experience’.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

Aww sorry JJ did I make your eyes roll, well here’s more of my lived experience..

How about my two friends who had babies during lockdown, one is now struggling with PND and blames lockdown for not being able to get out with her little one to playgroup or share time with friends and family. Both babies have attachment issues and cry the moment they are not within mums sight. These little ones have only known strangers in masks, I shudder to think the damage we are inflicting on a whole generation, what will their emotional intelligence be, will they be able to read social ques etc..

or my friend who gave up her job in Nov 19 to go freelance and has had to sign on because she wasn’t eligible for any grants or business loans, her journey applying for jobs has been long and painful, or my child’s friend’s dad who fulfilled a lifelong dream of opening a cafe at the start of the year only to have to close it after a few months, he is one of the lucky ones though as his wife is in a very good paying job and has managed to keep the house and car going, but he is a wreck, or what about my dear friend who applied for a divorce in February only to go into lockdown in March… that’s an ongoing nightmare for all involved..

So eye roll away JJ..

But lockdown is having a catastrophic effect on people’s lives and I for one will never be convinced it was worth it…

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

There is no cost free way out of this pandemic. You can list suffering because of the restrictions or suffering because of COVID. The data suggests the later, unmitigated, would cause more suffering than the former. But we are damaged no matter what we do. That’s what you can’t grasp.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

JJ you have no idea how callous you sound.. only the selfish who are completely insulated from suffering would suggest the suffering from covid outweighs that experienced by others throughout lockdown, to demean people’s experiences in such a way is abhorrent but sadly not unusual..

I assume therefore the following…
You are retired,
House paid for, good pension, no worry about paying bills, ample money for a decent lifestyle, no children to worry about, no need to think about work..

You are the epitome of the golden generation born with a silver spoon in your mouth who expects everyone else around you to lockdown for your benefit…

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

We can all do the ‘I care more than you’ virtue signaling thing, full of sanctimonious moral outrage. You think the person begging for oxygen in their isolation ward with a mechanical pipe shoved down their throat isn’t suffering? And all because you wanted to go out and get pissed with your mates or do a bit of retail therapy?

Again, there is no cost free solution to the pandemic. Stop pretending there is. The data shows we are taking the least costly approach.

And your assumed profile of me is 100% wrong. So lets stick to the facts shall we

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

JJ your words tell me all I need to know about you…

I would suggest the main difference between us is that I will always defend your right to have an alternative point of view and be able to express it..

I wish you a happy healthy life.. I hope you have that capacity within you …

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

As a Classical Liberal I will defend your liberty and sovereignty as an individual. As I will defend others from your attempt to take away their individual rights or sovereignty.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

Perhaps going forward you could do it with good manners…

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

Typical leftist. You accuse me of not caring about people dying from COVID, then suggest I am the one who lacks manners.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

That’ll be a no then.. :0

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
1 year ago
Reply to  headcasey669

It’ll be Poor Law, or taking peoples savings, 0.1% interest rate for over a decade or not much more etc..

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

Of course it’s controversial. The economy has been wrecked and other conditions have gone untreated. All of that will ultimately have massive implications for the country’s health, including its ability to run hospitals. It’s not a zero sum game.

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

“The economy has been wrecked and other conditions have gone untreated. All of that will ultimately have massive implications for the country’s health, including its ability to run hospitals.”

100% correct. That’s what pandemics do. Your mistake is to believe it was the government that caused the damage. They have mitigated the damage. Without covid restrictions the hospitals would fail, that would trigger economic damage even greater than the covid restrictions (in addition to killing hundreds of thousands)

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

So how come Hospital Armageddon hasn’t happened in Sweden, who have had a very light touch? You presuppose disaster without lockdown, without a shred of proof they work in the medium term. There is no proof because they’ve never been used before.

As for economic damage, wait until the £300 + billion has to be paid for all the furlough etc. from a destroyed tax base, because there are no businesses left, and mass unemployment.

No one is denying pandemics create economic damage. Governments around the world have just exacerbated that massively through ineffectual and damaging measures.

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

You given a really good example of why most covid skeptics are wrong.
Most of the original objections to a Pandemic were legitimate. However most of these concerns have been disproven as more evidence becomes available.

Sweden currently has one of the highest infection rate of any major country in the world, other than the USA and C Republic. There hospitals are overflowing. See article below. There is nothing to be ashamed about in changing your mind when the data changes. If it’s any consolation, I was arguing your position until a couple of months ago.

Sweden’s hospitals stretched to the limit
Finland and Norway have offered medical assistance, the government opts for emergency powers
DECEMBER 16, 2020 16:00Author THEMAYOR.EU

Sweden, known for its one-of-a kind, lenient approach to the coronavirus pandemic, is now paying a heavy price for shunning a lockdown and face mask mandate. On Monday the country set an all-time record in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Figures disclosed by Swedish Television showed that 2 389 patients, including those in intensive care units (ICU), were receiving hospital treatment for the insidious disease on that date. The previous high, recorded on 20 April, at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, was 65 patients less.

Shortage of ICU staff
These numbers speak little in themselves unless they are measured against a country’s healthcare capacity. And although Sweden has proved capable of rolling out more ICU beds so as not to be caught unawares in case of bad outbreaks, now it is facing a problem other countries have long grappled with – insufficient specialist staff to attend to those beds.

An investigation by Swedish Radio News reveals that six out of Sweden’s seven university hospitals are understaffed, the main issue being a shortage of nurses. And the management has little room for manoeuvre but ask the front line medics to work double shifts.

Stockholm region hit hardest
The situation is especially alarming in and around Stockholm, where intensive care units are almost full to capacity – for the first time during the pandemic. Björn Eriksson, director of Region Stockholm Healthcare, told The BMJ that local healthcare staff are so hard pressed that he had formally asked the National Board of Health and Welfare for more specialised doctors and nurses. According to Eriksson, it may be possible to “borrow” trained staff from private care providers, and hospitals in less-affected regions may also come to the rescue.

Meanwhile, Finland and Norway, whose infection rates are drastically lower, have offered medical assistance to Sweden, reports The Financial Times. The Swedish government has not officially asked for outside help as yet.

In Stockholm and the surrounding region cases have soared to 756 per 100″‰000 inhabitants on a 14 days basis, while by comparison, cases per 100″‰000 are 116 in Finland, and 97 in Norway. Even Denmark trails behind with 434 cases. All of Sweden’s neighbours have endured strict lockdowns.

Change of approach
The Swedish government changed its soft approach to the pandemic when faced with new cases rising relentlessly in November in sync with the rest of Europe. Gatherings of more than eight people have been banned (a restriction that would extend to the Christmas holidays) and secondary schools have been told to switch to remote learning for the rest of the term.

The government has even asked parliament to approve an emergency legislation granting it more powers to enforce measures such as closing shopping malls and gyms. Every Swedish citizen has received an SMS with information about the updated health recommendations and municipalities have issued their own warnings.

J J
J J
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Sweden, known for its one-of-a kind, lenient approach to the coronavirus pandemic, is now paying a heavy price for shunning a lockdown and face mask mandate. On Monday the country set an all-time record in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Figures disclosed by Swedish Television showed that 2 389 patients, including those in intensive care units (ICU), were receiving hospital treatment for the insidious disease on that date. The previous high, recorded on 20 April, at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, was 65 patients less.

Shortage of ICU staff
These numbers speak little in themselves unless they are measured against a country’s healthcare capacity. And although Sweden has proved capable of rolling out more ICU beds so as not to be caught unawares in case of bad outbreaks, now it is facing a problem other countries have long grappled with – insufficient specialist staff to attend to those beds.

An investigation by Swedish Radio News reveals that six out of Sweden’s seven university hospitals are understaffed, the main issue being a shortage of nurses. And the management has little room for manoeuvre but ask the front line medics to work double shifts.

Stockholm region hit hardest
The situation is especially alarming in and around Stockholm, where intensive care units are almost full to capacity – for the first time during the pandemic. Björn Eriksson, director of Region Stockholm Healthcare, told The BMJ that local healthcare staff are so hard pressed that he had formally asked the National Board of Health and Welfare for more specialised doctors and nurses. According to Eriksson, it may be possible to “borrow” trained staff from private care providers, and hospitals in less-affected regions may also come to the rescue.

Meanwhile, Finland and Norway, whose infection rates are drastically lower, have offered medical assistance to Sweden, reports The Financial Times. The Swedish government has not officially asked for outside help as yet.

In Stockholm and the surrounding region cases have soared to 756 per 100″‰000 inhabitants on a 14 days basis, while by comparison, cases per 100″‰000 are 116 in Finland, and 97 in Norway. Even Denmark trails behind with 434 cases. All of Sweden’s neighbours have endured strict lockdowns.

Change of approach
The Swedish government changed its soft approach to the pandemic when faced with new cases rising relentlessly in November in sync with the rest of Europe. Gatherings of more than eight people have been banned (a restriction that would extend to the Christmas holidays) and secondary schools have been told to switch to remote learning for the rest of the term.

The government has even asked parliament to approve an emergency legislation granting it more powers to enforce measures such as closing shopping malls and gyms. Every Swedish citizen has received an SMS with information about the updated health recommendations and municipalities have issued their own warnings.

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Sweden made a huge mistake in
underestimating the virus trying to follow a herd immunity strategy, allowing a
high percentage of the population to get infected.
The country gained early praise from some for shunning lockdown, but it now has one of the highest per-capita rates of coronavirus death in the world.
Sweden in October started implementing lockdown measures. The country’s Public Health Agency then advised everyone in to stay at home and get a coronavirus test if they are at all sick (even a mild cough or sore throat), practice social distancing, work from home if possible, follow good hygiene practices, and avoid non-essential visits to elderly people or hospitals
Dr Joacim Rocklov, professor of epidemiology at Umea University, said that the new local (lockdown), measures showed Sweden quietly shifting strategy. “What’s happened in the last couple of weeks is a movement towards a similar model to what has been used in Norway and many other countries,” he said.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

The fact that the hospitals are so woefully insufficient, yes that’s controversial. Every year, in fact. Even flu season is a problem. The hospitals are supposed to help patients, not the other way around.

J J
J J
1 year ago

Hospitals are helping people, currently 150K of them. 10K more and they will be full, that means canceling all non covid treatment. If that doesn’t work, you die in the car park. Simple.

So you are being asked to make a sacrifice to support your local hospital and ensure thousands do not die. Perhaps now you can give up getting pissed with the girls or going to the cinema for a few weeks? I know it’s hard, but it’s for a good cause.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  J J

Hospitals are at breaking point as they always are. That was the point, every year there is a hospital capacity crisis, even with flu. Did you expect it to be better with covid and flu?

The hospitals should be supporting patients not the other way around. You have it exactly backwards.

J J
J J
1 year ago

You are denying reality. Do you really think every hospital in the country, the doctors and manager are part of global conspiracy to pretend they can’t cope? Have you any idea how absurd that is?

Let me quote you the hosptials themselves:

Denis Campbell Health policy editor
Sun, 27 December 2020, 5:13 pm GMT·4-min read
Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
Hospitals have been ordered to free up every possible bed for the growing number of Covid patients amid fears of a high death toll from the disease in January.

NHS England warned that the entire health service will have to stay on its highest state of alert until at least the end of March because of the ongoing influx of very sick patients, exacerbated by the new strain of coronavirus.

It comes as NHS trust bosses in England said the intense pressures they were facing were “extremely challenging” and that hospitals had almost as many Covid patients now as in April. “As we head into the new year we are seeing a real rise in the pressure on NHS services, particularly across London and the south-east,” said Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers.

In a six-page letter to NHS care providers on 23 December, health service chiefs said: “With Covid-19 inpatient numbers rising in almost all parts of the country, and the new risk presented by the variant strain of the virus, you should continue to plan on the basis that we will remain in a level four incident for at least the rest of this financial year and NHS trusts should continue to safely mobilise all of the available surge capacity over the coming weeks.”

A consultant at Southampton general hospital said: “Our general intensive care unit footprint is now completely overfull of Covid patients. We have expanded our ICU by 10 extra beds to take ICU patients from both Portsmouth and Kent as they are so hard-pressed. [The situation] is under control so far but unpleasant and scary.”

Dr Rupert Pearse, a senior intensive care specialist in London, said the recent rise in infections would inevitably lead to more hospitalisations and deaths in coming weeks. He tweeted: “As with the first wave, the sharp rise in people testing positive for Sars-CoV-2 will be followed by a sharp rise in hospital admissions for Covid-19 and then a similar rise in excess deaths in January.”

Hospital doctors warned that the service’s widespread lack of staff could pose a risk to patients.

Related: Scientists call for UK lockdown after rapid spread of Covid-19 variant

“It is no surprise, but still dismaying, to hear that the NHS will be at ‘level 4’ for months given the rate of infections verses the rate of vaccinations and that it takes probably four weeks from first dose to immunity”, said Dr Nick Scriven, the immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine.

“Surge will mean mobilising any usable bed area and stretching staff to look after patients there ““ often outside the staff’s ‘normal comfort zone’ ““ for example, unwell medical patients on surgical wards, or even less safely opening up ‘mothballed’ areas and spreading staff more thinly than usually considered optimal or even safe. And this will of course mean cancelling elective care again,” Scriven said.

In their letter NHS Improvement’s chief executive Amanda Pritchard and Julian Kelly, NHS England’s chief financial officer, told hospitals that where possible they should send patients needing surgery to local private health facilities, discharge as many inpatients as possible and prepare for the Nightingale field hospitals to open.

In a vivid illustration of the pressures hospitals are facing, London’s Royal Free hospital ““ which is receiving about 12 new Covid inpatients every day ““ has cancelled all non-emergency surgery until mid-February and restricted staff holidays.

It has become “overwhelmed”, one doctor there said. “Every staff group, from porters to surgeons, have had their leave cancelled from 21 December. Only a maximum of a five-day-run, including bank holidays, is permitted from now on. Essentially cancelled the staff Christmas holidays. They have also cancelled all non-emergency surgery again until the middle of February. So the hospital is not coping really. The 12 Covid admissions a day has quickly overwhelmed the place,” they said.

Basildon hospital in Essex is also understood to be under serious pressure and admitting dozens of Covid-positive patients a day on some days. The Cardiff and Vale University health board in Wales issued a plea on Twitter for medical students and NHS staff to help out in its critical care department. It later said it had got the volunteers it needed but the unit “remains extremely busy due to Covid-19 and winter pressures” and that staffing was still “challenging”.

Dr Sonia Adesara, a doctor in London, tweeted: “My hospital has currently no ITU beds. No spare CPAP (non-invasive ventilation) capacity. Spent the past 12 hours caring for people in their 50s, 60s, 70s who are on the highest oxygen we can give. Trying to keep them breathing until we can free up capacity.”

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/h

J J
J J
1 year ago

You are denying reality. Do you really think every hospital in the country, the doctors and manager are part of global conspiracy to pretend they can’t cope? Have you any idea how absurd that is?

Let me quote you the hosptials themselves:

Denis Campbell Health policy editor
Sun, 27 December 2020, 5:13 pm GMT·4-min read
Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
Hospitals have been ordered to free up every possible bed for the growing number of Covid patients amid fears of a high death toll from the disease in January.

NHS England warned that the entire health service will have to stay on its highest state of alert until at least the end of March because of the ongoing influx of very sick patients, exacerbated by the new strain of coronavirus.

It comes as NHS trust bosses in England said the intense pressures they were facing were “extremely challenging” and that hospitals had almost as many Covid patients now as in April. “As we head into the new year we are seeing a real rise in the pressure on NHS services, particularly across London and the south-east,” said Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers.

In a six-page letter to NHS care providers on 23 December, health service chiefs said: “With Covid-19 inpatient numbers rising in almost all parts of the country, and the new risk presented by the variant strain of the virus, you should continue to plan on the basis that we will remain in a level four incident for at least the rest of this financial year and NHS trusts should continue to safely mobilise all of the available surge capacity over the coming weeks.”

A consultant at Southampton general hospital said: “Our general intensive care unit footprint is now completely overfull of Covid patients. We have expanded our ICU by 10 extra beds to take ICU patients from both Portsmouth and Kent as they are so hard-pressed. [The situation] is under control so far but unpleasant and scary.”

Dr Rupert Pearse, a senior intensive care specialist in London, said the recent rise in infections would inevitably lead to more hospitalisations and deaths in coming weeks. He tweeted: “As with the first wave, the sharp rise in people testing positive for Sars-CoV-2 will be followed by a sharp rise in hospital admissions for Covid-19 and then a similar rise in excess deaths in January.”

Hospital doctors warned that the service’s widespread lack of staff could pose a risk to patients.

Related: Scientists call for UK lockdown after rapid spread of Covid-19 variant

“It is no surprise, but still dismaying, to hear that the NHS will be at ‘level 4’ for months given the rate of infections verses the rate of vaccinations and that it takes probably four weeks from first dose to immunity”, said Dr Nick Scriven, the immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine.

“Surge will mean mobilising any usable bed area and stretching staff to look after patients there ““ often outside the staff’s ‘normal comfort zone’ ““ for example, unwell medical patients on surgical wards, or even less safely opening up ‘mothballed’ areas and spreading staff more thinly than usually considered optimal or even safe. And this will of course mean cancelling elective care again,” Scriven said.

In their letter NHS Improvement’s chief executive Amanda Pritchard and Julian Kelly, NHS England’s chief financial officer, told hospitals that where possible they should send patients needing surgery to local private health facilities, discharge as many inpatients as possible and prepare for the Nightingale field hospitals to open.

In a vivid illustration of the pressures hospitals are facing, London’s Royal Free hospital ““ which is receiving about 12 new Covid inpatients every day ““ has cancelled all non-emergency surgery until mid-February and restricted staff holidays.

It has become “overwhelmed”, one doctor there said. “Every staff group, from porters to surgeons, have had their leave cancelled from 21 December. Only a maximum of a five-day-run, including bank holidays, is permitted from now on. Essentially cancelled the staff Christmas holidays. They have also cancelled all non-emergency surgery again until the middle of February. So the hospital is not coping really. The 12 Covid admissions a day has quickly overwhelmed the place,” they said.

Basildon hospital in Essex is also understood to be under serious pressure and admitting dozens of Covid-positive patients a day on some days. The Cardiff and Vale University health board in Wales issued a plea on Twitter for medical students and NHS staff to help out in its critical care department. It later said it had got the volunteers it needed but the unit “remains extremely busy due to Covid-19 and winter pressures” and that staffing was still “challenging”.

Dr Sonia Adesara, a doctor in London, tweeted: “My hospital has currently no ITU beds. No spare CPAP (non-invasive ventilation) capacity. Spent the past 12 hours caring for people in their 50s, 60s, 70s who are on the highest oxygen we can give. Trying to keep them breathing until we can free up capacity.”

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
1 year ago

Until ISOLATION Hospitals are reinstated (old TB units) abolished in 1970s &1980s by various Political Parties Local & Westminster.. £149 billion per annum a fifth of GDP on NHS for yet another crisis??

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  chrisjpj1977

How about schools? Poor students do not usually catch up from missed school, and this was a year. How about loss of starter jobs like hospitality? Young not getting a job after leaving school can have life long effects. How about their loss of socializing and play and exercise?

If your, and Furgesons, sort were the captain of the Titanic it would be ‘Old and frail to the Lifeboats’ ‘Young and healthy meet your watery grave.’

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

Is IFR at 0.5% an assumption? Prof John Ioannidis, professor of epidemiology at Stanford University, estimates IFR in the population aged under 70 as 0.04%. That’s 4 in 10,000, and this figure includes people with serious underlying medical conditions.

Using numbers in this way is like playing pin the tail on the donkey….

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

Ioannidis said overall – all ages – between .1 and .2%. Of course that doesn’t suit certain narratives, so he is being rubbished in many quarters. Presumably not alarmist enough.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

I’m not sure why you’re comparing an IFR for the UK population to one for the under-70s (and under-70s living where?).

On the CEBM website in Estimating the infection fatality ratio in England, by Daniel Howdon, Jason Oke, Carl Heneghan, from August 2020, they write that they obtained “recent IFRs estimates of 0.30% using the MRC unit’s data and 0.49% using ONS data.” This estimate was for England rather than the UK as a whole.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

My point is you can present numbers and statistics to suit your own point of view….

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Isla C

My point is you can present numbers and statistics to suit your own point of view…

Again, I’m not seeing the relevance of your comments. Are you disputing that about 200000 people would die in an unrestrainted epidemic in the UK, or not? If not, what’s your point? If so, what’s your evidence?

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

I’m sorry you don’t see the relevance of my comments, lol. I suppose other folks comments are irrelevant when they don’t chime with yours.

But my point is a relevant one so I will try again…

We can Google numbers (even us thick unscientific types) and come up with numbers and stats that suit our point of view…

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago

Prof Ferguson High Priest of the Doomsday Covid lockdown Evangelicals… Listen all ye souls to my terrible predictions of death and long covid, think not for yourselves… Turn a blind eye to the desolation on your towns high street, listen not to the cries of your children and young adults as they rue for the times they made merry and could gather together to learn, dance and play contact sport… for they will bring down the pestilence of the new virulent strain of the virus on their grannies…. Do not gather together, but hide in your home’s where you all must watch the daily death count and surrender your freedom of independent thought to the Covid lockdown hysteria that pervades all around you…

Bow ye sheep at the alter of my ego, where ye shall follow my rules and do as I say.. but not as I do…

oh and don’t forget to get the vaccine when your time arrives….

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
1 year ago

A virus does what a virus does.
Incompetence is what a politician does.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
1 year ago

The Times now reads like the Guardian. I used to buy a copy every day to read whilst having a coffee until it confused itself as to what reporting was about. I then moved onto the Telegraph and I have not renewed my subscription there as the same trend emerged. My politics have not changed in 30 years so why do I have to keep changing papers? I now read the Spectator, Spiked and Unherd. For now.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Shaw

As ALL newspapers have troubled finances,You’ll Probably Find FT&Times like the grauniad & the observer benefit from Gates foundation!

Mulvya Chand
Mulvya Chand
1 year ago

Manaus seems to be brought up in these counter-examples, yet a more apt example is Mumbai, which locked down till end of May and then incrementally opened up. Its daily peak was in early October yet it never shut down again. Current positivity rates hover around 4%. Total mortality has been 11000, from a population of 14 million (this is Mumbai municipal limits, not the whole metro region). Mobility has gradually increased from June and at present, driving is above baseline and walking at baseline, as per Apple data.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
1 year ago
Reply to  Mulvya Chand

India has a much lower average age than the UK, it probably shouldn’t have gone into lockdown for that reason alone. But how many young, asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic under 35s have actually been tested? And how reliable are the statistics? And how much more vitamin d to they receive from the sun?

Mulvya Chand
Mulvya Chand
1 year ago

how many young, asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic under 35s have actually been tested?

Those who are close-contacts of positive-tested, and those whose employment requires it.

how reliable are the statistics?

Fairly, for major urban areas.

Peter Whitehead
Peter Whitehead
1 year ago

Ferguson’s doctoral thesis was “Interpolations from crystalline to dynamically triangulated random surfaces”.

He is now advising on epidemiology! Go figure!

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago

This gentleman shouldn’t have been anywhere near a government advisory position in 2020. His history is enough. The only thing he’s been good at is being wrong and dangerously so ever since 2001.
When warned by Michael Levitt that his model was out by a factor of 10 in the Spring he chose to ignore it. Sweden got his prediction of 80k deaths and arrived at SISO very quickly.
If anyone wants to look up how he arrived at the 0.9% IFR that led to the 510k they can. It’s quite surprising for a supposed professor of mathematical biology.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

The only thing he’s been good at is being wrong

The usual: name five examples. Oh, and not avian flu, BSE/vCJD or swine flu, please, as those have been addressed recently below.

warned by Michael Levitt

Hmm. Let’s look at Michael Levitt’s record for accurate prediction. On March 20th he said that he would be surprised if the number of deaths in Israel surpassed 10. Currently 3186. On March 28th, when Switzerland had 197 deaths, he predicted the pandemic was almost over and would end with 250. Currently 7159. In Italy he predicted on March 28th that the pandemic was past its midpoint and deaths would end at 17,000 ““ 20,000. Currently 71,359. On June 28th he predicted deaths in Brazil would plateau at 98,000. Currently 190,795.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Just because they’ve been addressed below they can’t be mentioned again?
His history should’ve precluded him from the position.
Anyone in the private sector that made that many calamitous mistakes wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make another. In fact by 2002 anyone else in private business would’ve been shown the door.
I quite happily repeat….
The only thing he’s been good at is being wrong and dangerously so.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

Just because they’ve been addressed below they can’t be mentioned again?

Provided you in turn don’t mind my mentioning again what I wrote down below. There are four claims, assiduously repeated, that Ferguson made predictions that were wildly wrong. In fact, only one of them was a prediction, and that was correct (the figure quoted not being the prediction, but another figure taken out of context); one was a Reasonable Worst Case scenario, explicitly not a prediction; and two were hypothetical estimates for scenarios that never happened (one incidentally also an RWC) hence not capable of being correct or incorrect since different scenarios actually transpired.

So, not quite the disastrous track record that you suggest.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

He also failed to do what any reasonable scientist would do when someone of Levitt’s standing suggested he may be wrong and check. He didn’t. When Sweden pointed out that his assumptions were wrong he should’ve checked…..he didn’t.
I see no reason to change my thoughts on Ferguson. I’m old enough to remember the carnage in 2001 and Andy Burnham telling us that 65,000 people were going to die in 2009. Who gave him that prediction? Ferguson.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

He also failed to do what any reasonable scientist would do when someone of Levitt’s standing suggested he may be wrong and check.

You know this how exactly?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Had he checked he would have found out he was wrong. Unless you think he checked, knew he was wrong and didn’t correct himself.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

So do you claim to know that he refused to check? Or are you just guessing?\

(Just to be clear: I’m not claiming to know whether he did or he didn’t. I’m just asking people who make this allegation to say whether they claim to know it, and if so, on what evidence.)

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Take your pick, either he didn’t check or he checked, knew he was wrong, and just let it go. Neither would be good but if you’d rather go with b) that’s your choice. If you can name a third possible option, have at it.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

Maybe he didn’t get the email. Maybe he checked and decided that he was right and that Levitt was wrong. Maybe …

As I said I don’t know exactly what happened, and it seems that you don’t either. You’re assuming a priori that Levitt was right, and elsewhere on this page I’ve given some reasons to suppose that Levitt is not always right

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Didn’t get the email. What a hoot you are. The whole world knew about the email but not Ferguson?

And then of course, resigning in disgrace, admitting to having been wrong. Just no way around that is there?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

As I said, neither of us know the facts of the matter.

Ferguson resigned from SAGE, quite properly in my view, because his personal behaviour was not consistent with the advice SAGE had given for the public. Does that make his science wrong?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Well, yes we do know the facts. He either checked and said nothing when he found himself to be wrong or he didn’t check. Perhaps he was too busy doing something else.

Of course he was right to resign. Even HE didn’t believe his own science. And you still haven’t provided five quotes of other scientists supporting his disastrously wrong utterings.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

yes we do know the facts

You do? You were there, looking over his shoulder when he opened the email? No, of course you weren’t.

But, as I say, you omit the possibility that Levitt was wrong. Why would that be? Do you know exactly what Levitt’s email said, and on what authority do you claim to vouch for its scientific correctness?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Since you’ve come up with no other explanation and the only possibilities have already been mentioned…..

And what scientist uses 13 year old computer code and then refuses to release it?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

You have not mentioned the possibility that Levitt was wrong. Why would that be?

I may add that in general, when you claim to know something, your case is more convincing when you produce evidence or some other support for your ability to know it, rather than simply grounding your argument on the basis that your interlocutor does not know either.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Trying to get off track? Won’t work. Let’s add Stanford’s John Ioannides to the list of scientists who don’t have respect for Ferguson. And you still haven’t quoted even one scientist sticking up for him. Got any evidence or support?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

On the contrary, I’m trying to keep to the track: do you accept that possibility that Levitt was wrong, or not?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

No, actually you’re not. And Levitt is hardly the only scientist who specifically called out Ferguson on the science. While you have zero quotes of anyone supporting him on it.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

So, do you accept the possibility that Levitt was wrong? Some quotes in support of Ferguson’s work are below, in addition to their endorsement by numerous journal editors and peer-reviewers. I realise you don’t like them, but that is not my problem. Publication after anonymous peer review is endorsement too, whatever you think of it.

The five scientists “who specifically called out Ferguson on the science”, please — you can include Levitt. With quotes, specifically addressing the scientific points of difference.

Oh, and do you accept the possibility that Levitt was wrong? Still, I suppose the rest of us can judge when you quote the scientific content of his disagreement.

grahamtriggs
grahamtriggs
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

I did read a peer-reviewed publication that questioned Ferguson’s paper from 16th March, but I can’t remember where it was / who wrote it.

But we can quote a more basic example with Ferguson – on the 5th April, he was on the record as saying that with the measures in place, we would see between 7,000 and 20,000 deaths. This is after the lockdown that he wanted was imposed, he could see precisely which measures were included, and get a sense of the level of compliance. And at the time, we already had 5,000 deaths.

Ferguson completely overestimates the real impact that lockdown restrictions will have.

So, do you accept the possibility that even if Ferguson is correct about the need to reduce contacts (specifically, try to ensure that people who have it don’t spread it, and people at high risk limit the possibility of catching it), that other people might actually be better suited to shaping policies are more effective in isolating those that need to be, than what Ferguson thinks will work?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  grahamtriggs

he was on the record as saying that with the measures in place, we would see between 7,000 and 20,000 deaths

What he was quoted as saying, by Reuters on 7 April, reporting on an appearance on the Andrew Marr programme, was

We don’t have the ability right now to measure how many people have been infected, that will come with antibody tests, and so we are making statistical estimates of that and those are subject to a certain degree of uncertainty.

“We think it could be anywhere between about 7,000 or so up to a little over 20,000.”

So, yes, that was too low: the April peak levelled off about 40,000. How much certainty do you think is usually conveyed by the phrase “We think it could be anywhere between …”?

he could see precisely which measures were included

You missed out the part where he said precisely the opposite: “We don’t have the ability right now to measure how many people have been infected”.

I can’t remember where it was / who wrote it.

Then it’s not really going to be possible. to discuss it …

This is in the context of a discussion about Levitt criticising Ferguson’s figures for being far too high. So, if Ferguson was wrong, Levitt was even more wrong.

grahamtriggs
grahamtriggs
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

I left out the bit about “We don’t have the ability right now to measure how many people have been infected”, because it wasn’t relevant.

What I said was “see precisely which measures were included” – which means seeing how many businesses are shuttered, how many schools are shuttered, the reduction in our mobility, the reduction in our contacts, level of compliance (which he later said to Commons select committee was over 90%, when he had anticipated only 85%). The amount of infections has nothing to do with seeing the policies put in place and how our behaviour is being affected.

And yes, we didn’t know precisely how many people were infected. But by the time he made the 7,000 – 20,000 statement, it was two weeks after the lockdown had been introduced. By which time, every hospitalization that would come from pre-lockdown infection had already occurred.

The reason that Ferguson’s expectation was too low was not because he underestimated the number of infections prior to lockdown, but because he overestimated how much impact there would be from lockdown.

And the most likely reason for overestimation is an expectation that it simply scales in proportion, and not accounting for how the changes in our behaviour impact where transmission is occurring, and who is getting infected. Yes, you reduce the total number of infections, but you shift the venues from commuter trains, offices, factories, schools towards supermarkets (and you take people who would be shopping in the evening/weekends when few elderly are there, to weekday daytimes when they are).

If you halve the number of infections, but double the percentage of over-65s what is the net result? You end up with the same number of over-65s getting infected, you have broadly the same number of hospitalizations, and broadly the same number of deaths.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  grahamtriggs

So you would equate an informal remark made in a television interview, with a cautious caveat up front, with a formal prediction claiming to have been made in full knowledge of all relevant data? I wouldn’t.

Your ex post facto analysis is an interesting speculation, but at present nothing more than that.

grahamtriggs
grahamtriggs
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Whether it is an informal remark or a formal prediction is irrelevant. It is an example of how what he was expecting would result from his proposal differed from reality.
I’m not trying to return his prediction for a refund, but it’s OK to agree that we need to reduce transmission of covid, but accept that the people who can define that are not necessarily the right people to develop a policy that will effectively change our behaviour in a way that delivers that.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  grahamtriggs

Whether it is an informal remark or a formal prediction is irrelevant.

Then on that point we must agree to disagree.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

Andy Burnham telling us that 65,000 people were going to die in 2009. Who gave him that prediction?

Nobody, because it was never a prediction. RWC estimates are explicitly not predictions in government policy planning, as statements made at the time, and the subsequent reports into the Swine Flu epidemic acknowledged. Burnham’s statement in the Commons on 20 July 2009 was reported in The Guardian at the time as

Burnham says the government has published a range of assumptions about how many people will be affected. These are “worst case scenarios”, not predictions. He appeals to the media to be responsible.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Ferguson….
One of the authors, the epidemiologist and disease modeller Neil Ferguson, who sits on the World Health Organisation’s emergency committee for the outbreak, said the virus had “full pandemic potential”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “It is likely to spread around the world in the next six to nine months, and when it does so, it will affect about one-third of the world’s population.

There’s much more but to be honest I can’t be bothered with this bloke. He’s beginning to look teflon coated.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Is it not worth looking at the *consequences* of his predictions/RWCSs/call them what you like…? Sure, media and politicians are also responsible, but when his RWC leads, predictably, to an outcome that he clearly favours, it’s not unreasonable for those who consider that outcome disastrous to blame him.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Is it not worth looking at the *consequences* of his predictions/RWCSs/call them what you like…?

Certainly, but that is quite a different question to whether or not they were right, or the best estimate that could be had at the time (two different things in themselves, of course).

Are you saying that the RWC was wrong? Or that it was actually right but is somehow made less right by it being one that led to a certain course of action that, you speculate, he favoured. The famous 510,000 figure was formally adopted by SAGE as the RWC for that scenario, and there are mathematicians and statisticians on SAGE perfectly capable of checking his work or indeed doing it again for themselves. Indeed, for what it’s worth, I would have given a similar figure had I been asked, and most people who know me would not confuse my opinions about most things in general with those attributed to Prof. Ferguson.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Why do other scientists disagree with you?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

Do they? My usual response: name five.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Don’t need to name five.

But in addition to the already covered Michael Levitt, here’s a few more….

“I’m normally reluctant to say this about a scientist,” Jay Schnitzer, a vascular biology expert and former scientific director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in San Diego said. “But he dances on the edge of being a publicity-seeking charlatan.”

And Johan Giesecke, former chief scientist for the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, claimed his model was “the most influential scientific paper” in recent memory, as well as “one of the most wrong.

Stanford’s John Ioannides, of course.

And of course when Ferguson was forced to resign he himself said he made an “error of judgement and took the wrong course of action.”

Perhaps you could name five scientists who support Ferguson, eh?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

Well, we can read about the discussion between Ferguson and Giesecke at another article on this site. And Schnitzer’s comment doesn’t seem to convey much in the way of scientific content.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Publicity-seeking charlatan being a common description for respected scientists, eh?

But resigning for being hugely wrong is, of course, a common practice as well for respected scientists in your view.

I note that you provide no scientists supporting Ferguson.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

I’m just saying that it’s not unknown for scientists to disagree, even vehemently. I would be more impressed if Schnitzer were to say what the scientific grounds of his disagreement were.

Oh, and don’t presume to know my views on matters not under discussion.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Charlatan? No way to use that word to characterize disagreement.

Ferguson wasn’t wrong in your view and yet still resigned saying he had been. You’ve maneuvered yourself into quite the corner.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

Ferguson wasn’t wrong in your view and yet still resigned saying he had been.

Equivocation. We were discussing his science being wrong, not his personal conduct. I agree that his personal conduct was wrong and that he did well to resign.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Yes all the quotes I have provided from other scientists said he was wrong on the science. Got anything that says he wasn’t? From a scientist. An actual scientists, not an administrator, not a political science type. Let’s have an epidemiologist.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

Well, if you want to narrow the field down to epidemiologists, then that rules out Schnitzer, a professor of Vascular Biology, doesn’t it? And Ioannides, professor of Medicine, Health Research and Policy? And Levitt, Structural Biology?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Nope, not narrowing, just asking for peer supporters of his science. Did you think it was just general supporters rather than people who might have some familiarity with the subject? Which of the three you mention would not be scientists with expertise in the subject, especially compared to say, a political scientist?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

OK, I think we can stop here. It’s pretty clear that even though you might have had some points worth discussing, you’re trolling now.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Good place for you to stop indeed. Good natured gullibility can have a certain charm, but not in this case.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

If anyone wants to look up how he arrived at the 0.9% IFR that led to the 510k they can. It’s quite surprising for a supposed professor of mathematical biology.

Say why?

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Look it up.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Look it up, I’m surprised you don’t already know. It revolves around 6 flights out of Wuhan.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

I think you’ll find that it was the figure adopted by SAGE in February as the best estimate they could get for planning purposes. It seems really quite reasonable for someone whose expertise is in modelling to consult with his medical colleagues about what they think the best estimate is for one of the parameters needed by the model. Indeed a well-conducted modelling exercise should be asking precisely that sort of question.

In this particular case, the model makes it clear that the output is initially the number of cases (around 50 million) and of course the number of deaths is derived from that quite simply by multiplying by an IFR. The assumption of 0.9% seems perfectly reasonable for an RWC estimate, as does zero pre-existing immunity.

As a separate point, it seems that 0.9% was not such a bad estimate based on subsequent events. But I agree that this is a separate question to whether it was the best available at the time.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

The lack of baking in pre-existing immunity is kintergarden stuff. Some pre-existing immunity always exists. Immunology 101, see Ivan Roitt.
The 0.9% came from 6 positive cases across 6 flights over one weekend from Wuhan and was used as a blunt calculation. USA was advised 2.5m deaths. Sweden reviewed the model they were given of 80,000 deaths and immediately recognised assumption errors and coding errors and reprogrammed it. They told him. They have a number not unadjacent to 10% of Ferguson’s model.
Johan Giesecke told Ferguson he was out by a factor of 10 and was ignored. Subsequent work from the likes of John Iaonnidis has proven it. Iaonnidis questioned it in March and was poopoo’d but has since been accepting apologies.
Michael Levitt has done many interviews pointing out where he was wrong including on Unherd but on the factor of 10 he was right.

Ferguson has never showed any contrition or said at any point that his models over the years were inaccurate or caused poor decision making or strategic planning. Some contrition would go a long way.
He also suggests that control of the population is a good thing. It isn’t. Those who think it is OK for the overwhelming majority of society to be effectively placed under house arrest when not unwell and at very small risk are endorsing totalitarian behaviour by authorities. For this to be then backed up by legislation and draconian punishment is outrageous.
I would suggest lockdowns, which are little more than a social experiment, will not be viewed kindly with hindsight in years to come for a myriad of reasons.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

Some pre-existing immunity always exists.

“Some” perhaps. The question was whether it was sufficient to make a material difference to the outcome. The conservative assumption would be that it was low, epecially in the context of a Reasonable Worst Case scenario. I’m not privy to the discussions held at SAGE, and I don’t suppose you were either.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Mmm….I have some stuff.
The level of pre-existing immunity thought to exist varies. Some have it as low as 20%, Sunetra Gupta had it at 50% and Karl Friston had it as a susceptible population of only 20%. Some more good work by Prof Thomas at Bristol has it currently around 30%. Some still think it’s up around 50%. The 30% number seems reasonable currently and definitely 20% at least at the outset. COG-UK did some good stuff with genomes.
The point is Ferguson said zero and despite SAGE having no virologists or immunologists in it’s structure there are some on it that know better. Vallance definitely and Calum Semple did his immunology rotation under Roitt.
The fact that they KNOW this and didn’t bake it in is nothing short of dereliction of duty. The level of susceptibility is fundamental. For Vallance to tell the nation only 7% were immune and 93% still susceptible at one press briefing can only be interpreted as what Churchill described as a terminological inexactitude.
SAGE was further spooked by a paper by Steve Riley (ICL…again!) with some horrific numbers in it including an IFR of 5% if ICU was full which they got on 16th March. He had an unmitigated epidemic at almost 3million dead in the UK and successful mitigation having deaths at 1.7m. These are 18 month numbers.
He also has herd immunity requiring 50% of the population to be immune at an R of 1.4.
Although it is possible to see why SAGE and the govt would react as they did it also isn’t hard to see why they should’ve been a little more inquisitive as some of the stuff they were given was armageddon level and not really that credible. If they had widened their field of advice in February/March we may not be where we are now. I would suggest ICL is a discredited organisation as the REACT-1 study run by Paul Elliott is a constant outlier.
I say this as someone who has friends that are lecturers at ICL albeit in other disciplines.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

The point is Ferguson said zero and despite SAGE having no virologists or immunologists in it’s structure there are some on it that know better.

I see no reason to believe that Ferguson said zero: that is, that the figure was adopted on his say-so, as opposed to being part of SAGE’s assessment. You may have evidence on the point, though. If you believe that in February the consensus on SAGE was that there definitely was a significant level of pre-existing immunity but chose not to have that put in the model, that’s quite a serious accusation. You’ld need to have some convincing evidence for that.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

As I’ve already said pre-existing immunity is a given according to basic immunology. In this case it’s backed up by cross immunity from other coronaviruses and this is also well documented now.
If they actively chose zero then that’s a matter for them. There is no doubt that the model assumes no pre-existing immunity. I make no accusations, only observations.

Oh, and that’s my last comment. I’m tired of covid-19 and lockdowns. History will judge it all in the fullness of time.
Their only strategy now is vaccination so let’s hope they don’t make a horlicks of the roll out and we can get back to living rather than this imposition of existence.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

… and I agree that zero was an assumption, the conservative one. I know of nothing in “basic immunology” that says that there is always a significant degree of pre-existing immunity to a novel virus that has, apparently, just jumped species.

However, the effect of let’s say 20% pre-existing immunity is to bring down the total number of cases by roughly the same percentage. (Based on a simple SIR model.). It’s not linear, as there is an epidemic threshold. So an assumption of 20% pre-existing immunity, unwarranted by any actual data, would have changed the projected death toll for the unmitigated scenario down to about 400,000. As an answer to the policy question, “Can the NHS cope?”, the answer would have been the same: No. And that’s what a RWC is for: helping to plan by deciding whether you can cope with it.

You need to assume pre-existing immunity of around 40% before it starts to make a qualitative difference to the answer. Would you have been happy to assume 40% or 50% immunity without any evidence? Should you?

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

20% combined with a half sensible IFR changes the landscape out of all recognition. 0.9% as already discussed was a shocker and he was told but as ever with Ferguson, he knew better. Even a top heavy estimate of 0.25% would have resulted in something half sensible. The NHS was never in overwhelmed territory nor was it ever going to be based on 20% & 0.25%.

SAGE also had a report on projected deaths etc from ONS mid March that put the estimated death toll at 45-65,000. It also went into QALY lost in some detail. They didn’t use it.
By the way…..SAGE had the estimated stratified risk by age group report on 6th March and it stands up even now as spookily accurate. This wasn’t baked in either.
They also had the Public Health Holland report on children at the beginning of April and that wasn’t used either.
They also knew the infections peaked before the lockdown. They could’ve opened the country late April. They didn’t need to wait until 4th July. The summer could’ve been used to build some immunity instead of keeping everything closed down ready for the winter respiratory season.

They also knew what kind of mess test and trace would be because they commissioned a report. This was the Royal Society DELVE report which they had on 18th May. It gave a max reduction of cases as 5-15% with a fully effective system. Why 22bn spent?
I’m sorry but it’s hard to see how SAGE haven’t let us and the govt down. The govt have also let themselves down quite badly as well.
There are over 1000 SAGE papers not released that are subject to FOI request as I understand it.
Bring on the vaccine and a speedy return to living.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

20% and 0.25%

This gives roughly 70% of the population infected and so 100,000 deaths, with something like 2million cases on the peak day, maybe 80,000 hospital admissions. That would almost certainly have crashed the NHS.

But what’s the point of assuming 0.25%? In hindsight it’s almost certainly too low (New York, with similar demographics to London has deaths over 0.25% of population, and current figures for UK are at least 0.6%) and back in February it would have been far too optimistic. Remember that we’re talking about a RWC here.

The other points you make are interesting but not relevant to the issue of Ferguson’s part in the SAGE decisions in February.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

expand your calculations

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

Standard SIR model based on 5 days infectious period, R0=2.8 and initial S of 80%.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

All wrong. The final decisions were made after 16th March. Fergusons 510,000 paper wasn’t presented until after 16th March.
Everything else you’ve written is wrong for a planning base.
Your calcs need to be done against the stratified age group risk which they had as of 6th March. You can remove at least another 20% of the population as under 16’s aren’t affected. Now down to 60% of the population……and so it goes on.
You can calculate against current if you want, they are close to the same. They should’ve done this.
The majority of the susceptible were already in long term care so limited pressure on the NHS. etc etc.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

SAGE 11 minutes for 26 February read

SAGE reviewed Covid-19 planning assumptions and advised that, in the reasonable worst case scenario, 80% of the UK population may become infected, with an overall 1% fatality rate in those infected. Only a proportion of those infected will experience symptoms.

I don’t know to what extent that RWC was derived from the same calculation that went into Ferguson’s Report 9, published in preprint form on 16 March, of course, but it seems quite consistent. You’ll note that the 1% IFR is a SAGE advisory.

Your calcs need to be done against the stratified age group risk which they had as of 6th March.

Excuse me, I don’t “need” to do anything, especially since you’ve given me no reason to believe you’re doing anything so sophisticated either. I’m illustrating how I think the RWC figures depend on the various assumptions based on a simple model I happen to have by me. I’m not attempting to second-guess the whole of SAGE and SPI-M, or Ferguson’s model. If you are, then by all means publish your results in a suitable peer-reviewed scientific journal, don’t waste your time here.

david bewick
david bewick
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

I’m done here and I’m not second guessing anything or anyone. I said a while ago I was tired of discussions on this and I’m now done. History will judge it. All I’m now interested in is the vaccine as the powers that be have decreed it’s the only route out. I can’t change that so I fall back on the serenity prayer.
You can continue to support and defend Mr Ferguson to your heart’s content. I know where I stand on it.
Don’t bother to reply further, I only open unherd every couple of weeks or so and it’s getting less and less to be honest so I won’t read it.
Enjoy your evening.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

Thank you for your contribution to the discussion.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

David your words have been spoken kindly and have not fallen on deaf ears.
Wishing you peace and ease x

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  david bewick

The scientific community are wetting their pants over this.. nowhere and at no time have they ever been able to put their theory into practice like this in real time and on such massive scale…
They are living the dream, and to have the unmitigated power, I can’t help getting the impression it’s the time of their lives.

Tim Gardener
Tim Gardener
1 year ago

Assuming he is being fairly quoted, there are many serious concerns raised by the Ferguson interview. Not least among them is the impression that SAGE were driving the policy and the information campaign – they were not acting as an advisory group.

1. “Then on March 13, he, SAGE and Sir Patrick decided it was past time the public were brought into the debate properly
2. “Over that weekend (March 14/15), he and his colleagues prepared a paper outlining their projections for the pandemic in different scenarios, and organised a press conference. They finished writing the paper an hour before they presented it.”
3. “SAGE debated whether it [lockdown] would be effective here [in the UK]. ‘China is a communist one-party state we said, we couldn’t get away with it in Europe, we thought …… And then Italy did it. And we realised we could.’ “
4. “Much of the work was informal and on the fly.” Which raises the question as to what level of scrutiny was applied to the analysis. How was it reviewed, verified and validated?

Beyond that, there is the assertion that “nowadays it is orthodoxy that lockdown was right.” Without hint of irony, the “science” cloaks itself in the language of dogma. The Times headline is also disingenuous: “People don’t want lockdown so they undermine the scientists.”

James Wilson
James Wilson
1 year ago

Professor Ferguson apparently thinks he has “got away with something.”

But when the possibly hundreds of thousands of needless deaths of other causes and suicides, and possibly millions of job and business losses, which may have been caused entirely by the lockdown (or just like covid itself, are attributed to it by the likely extremely angry victims, whether justifiably so or not) are counted, the hunger for scapegoats for the economic and physical and mental health disasters caused by lockdown is likely to be a high priority of government, and Professor Ferguson may find himself right at the top of the list.

But in fact, there is a more important principle here that needs to be clearly exposed, far beyond the blame game, which is that government and science has collaborated in seeking to impose a new philosophy upon the nation and world, which hopefully the majority will when they wake up to it find unacceptable in the long term, lest we find ourselves trapped in these lockdowns forever more for every new virus that comes along.

Which is that never before in the history of the world (excepting a few rare occasions like the Bubonic plague) has a population in general been regarded as responsible for whether its individual members caught a disease, or indeed for their health generally.

In other words, a culture has been created in which we are being encouraged to regard our neighbour, not as a fellow human being to be respected, fairly treated and cared for, but as a possible menace who if he or she does not obey certain strict rules such as face masking wearing, may infect us with a deadly disease.

Thus we have made our neighbour responsible for and to blame for us catching a disease instead of being responsible for our own health and safety ourselves.

This is an extremely dangerous suggestion to change our thinking and behaviour, because it is not only making us regard our neighbour as our enemy, it also makes some of our authorities like apparently Professor Ferguson and Mr Johnson, believe they have the right to take away our liberty to protect themselves or others from infectious diseases we may not even personally have.

This is not acceptable to many of us Professor Ferguson, and I believe in time when this is understood it will not be seen so by the vast majority.

Isla C
Isla C
1 year ago
Reply to  James Wilson

Very well said. How far down that road are we that there are many who will see your words as a menacing untruth and try to shut you down.. 🙁

eloyacano
eloyacano
1 year ago
Reply to  James Wilson

Very valid points. One of my biggest fears is that people won’t wake up.

Monty Marsh
Monty Marsh
1 year ago

The key metric is the Infection Fatality Rate, and that is very difficult to pin down for a contagion that is effectively dispatched by the immune systems of people in robust health, particularly in a population that is skewed towards the younger cohort, and in which many people benefit from the boost afforded by tropical sunshine and the consequent vit D enhancement.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
1 year ago

There’s an interesting article here that makes the point that the population of Manaus is very young – only 6% above 60. The UK figure is around 23%. Given the death rate for the virus is much, much higher for older people (who are generally also suffering other illnesses), I suspect this is what Freddie has missed.

https://www.sciencenews.org

headcasey669
headcasey669
1 year ago

How many predictions did pantsdown get wrong?… from foot and mouth to all the others… well all of them… how many did he get right absolutely none… how much has he cost this country?? Billions that our grandchildren will still be paying off years from now…… how much money did bill gates pay him… we know of a few million that’s just the documented amount…. the true figure will be so much more…. why is he called pantsdown?? because he knows it’s all a load of crap… if he was that worried about this virus he would have taken his own advice!!! He is the worst kind of human being there is…. and make no mistake about it!!!

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  headcasey669

A few posts below you’ll observe an example where his predictions were spot on.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

And yet no other scientists support him.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

Really? It seems that the GCSA Patrick Vallance does, as do other members of SAGE and its subgroups.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Let’s have five quotes then. All of scientists supporting Ferguson’s disastrous utterings.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

Ah, begging the question. Ferguson has published most of his work in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Probably each paper has been reviewed by an editor and one or two external reviewers. So that’s dozens of papers and possibly a hundred or so reviewers and referees who have supported the publication of his work. I don’t know the names of the referees, since they are usual anonymous, but the names of the editors of the journals are easy enough to find out if you really want to.

Some journals are: Proceedings of National Academy of Science; Science; Nature; Lancet; PLOS. That’s five.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Five quotes. Should be easy to find if you’re correct. After all, plenty of quotes available and already posted of scientists who do not support him.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

OK, then. In addition to the hundred or so anonymous peer reviewers.

It’s not just Neil Ferguson ““ scientists are being attacked for telling the truth. Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, in The Guardian, 6 May 2020

Maciej Boni, PhD, of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University, said the Imperial College model is the most likely scenario produced on the current pandemic.

‘Professor Neil Ferguson is right’ insists Dr Hilary Jones. Metro 11 June 2020

“Ferguson didn’t really make all those errors; if you look at his actual statements, he was sane and reasonable.” Andrew Gelman, professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University.

“Ferguson has made some errors (not calibrating his model is one of the largest) but most of this is bogus. Saying “if you don’t act, X will (or at least may) happen” is not a wrong prediction if people take action to avoid X, and then X fails to happen. James Annan, Blue Skies Research.

“Prof. Ferguson’s comments regarding the possible reduction in COVID-19 related deaths are entirely robust.” Prof Rowland Kao, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Data Science, University of Edinburgh

“Professor Ferguson has been clear that his analysis is with the benefit of hindsight. His comments are a simple statement of the facts as we now understand them.” Prof James Naismith, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, & Professor of Structural Biology, University of Oxford

“The work done by Neil Ferguson and his colleagues at Imperial has been vital in guiding the Government’s response to the pandemic.” Dr Rupert Beale, Group Leader, Cell Biology of Infection Laboratory, Francis Crick Institute

“the research of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, which [Ferguson] leads, is not compromised. ‘GIDA’, as it is affectionately known, is powered by several outstanding senior scientists, including Neil. Their contributions to modelling the COVID-19 pandemic remain of paramount importance in the UK and round the world.” Prof Fiona Watt, Executive Chair, Medical Research Council

“I have a huge respect for Prof Ferguson as a scientist in his field as he’s made important contributions”. Prof Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences

“the importance of [Ferguson’s] group’s science and modelling and those of other UK groups should be in no way impugned”. Prof John Iredale, Pro Vice Chancellor Health and Life Sciences, University of Bristol

“”I feel it is extremely important to make the point that Prof Ferguson has made a huge contribution worldwide to the efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.” Prof Liam Smeeth, Head of the Department of Non-Communicable Disease, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Anonymous wont do.

“Ferguson didn’t really make all those errors; if you look at his actual statements, he was sane and reasonable.” Andrew Gelman, professor of statistics and political science at Columbia University.”

This is a scientist in your view?

“Ferguson has made some errors (not calibrating his model is one of the largest) but most of this is bogus. Saying “if you don’t act, X will (or at least may) happen” is not a wrong prediction if people take action to avoid X, and then X fails to happen. James Annan, Blue Skies Research.”

This is a supporting comment in your view? James Annan works with climate. Not covid.

“It’s not just Neil Ferguson ““ scientists are being attacked for telling the truth. Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, in The Guardian, 6 May 2020″

This is a scientist in your view? He is a policy director, not a scientist and it has nothing to do with anything Ferguson said.

“Professor Ferguson has been clear that his analysis is with the benefit of hindsight.”

IOW, Ferguson was wrong.

“”I feel it is extremely important to make the point that Prof Ferguson has made a huge contribution worldwide to the efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.” Prof Liam Smeeth, Head of the Department of Non-Communicable Disease, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine”

Ah, you cherry picked this one. The actual quote begins…..”I don’t know Professor Ferguson personally…..”

“I have a huge respect for Prof Ferguson as a scientist in his field as he’s made important contributions”. Prof Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences”

This doesn’t say Ferguson was right about anything. You do see that, don’t you?

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

“This is a scientist in your view?” Yes

“This is a supporting comment in your view?” Yes.

“James Annan works with climate. Not covid.” Still a scientist.

“IOW, Ferguson was wrong.”. No.

you cherry picked this one. The actual quote begins…..”I don’t know Professor Ferguson personally…..” No. There’s no need to know someone personally to support their work, at least in my view. Possibly you diagree, in which case, it’s fair to ask whether it works the other way round too. Do you need to know someone personally to criticise their work? Perhaps you know Ferguson personally, since you’re so keen to criticise his work? Do tell.

“This doesn’t say Ferguson was right about anything.” You asked for support. That’s what this is. “Respect” does not normally go to people who are always wrong, or charlatans.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

“This is a scientist in your view?” Yes”

In the field of……..political science? Lol

“This is a supporting comment in your view?” Yes.”

Even though it says he was wrong.

“James Annan works with climate. Not covid.” Still a scientist.”

Not in this case, no. Climate scientists have no epidemiology expertise anymore than political scientists do.

“IOW, Ferguson was wrong.”. No.”

Your beef is with Naismith, not me.

“This doesn’t say Ferguson was right about anything.” You asked for support. That’s what this is.”

Support is someone saying Ferguson was right. You haven’t provided that. In the same way numerous scientists criticizing Ferguson on the science have been provided, you have been asked to provide scientists supporting him on the science. You haven’t done that.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

“In the field of……..political science? Lol”. No, statistics, an integral part of science, and specifically of epidemiology.

“Even though it says he was wrong.” and that most of the criticism of him is bogus. I didn’t say unqualified support.

“Climate scientists have no epidemiology expertise anymore than political scientists do.” An off thing to say, considering that you asked for scientists, not specifically epidemiologists, and mathematical modelling is integral to both climate and epdemic science. And the political scientist jibe is always cleared away.

“Support is someone saying Ferguson was right. ” Ah, redefining terms now. “Respect” is support.

“scientists supporting him on the science”. Well, there are numerous examples of published scientific papers citing or quoting his published scientific papers. According to Google Scholar, his paper “Strategies for mitigating an influenza pandemic” is cited by 2090 other papers; “Pandemic potential of a strain of influenza A (H1N1): early findings” by 2220; ” Strategies for containing an emerging influenza pandemic in Southeast Asia” by 1958. When literally thosands of other scientists cite his work, there’s a good case for saying that they regard his work as valid.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Sorry, political science won’t count. Going to need to be a peer.

But unqualified support is what’s been asked for. Numerous quotes have been provided from his peers that say he was wrong on covid. And you have zero from his peers saying he was right. Because he wasn’t right. Even he isn’t saying he was right anymore, so why are you clinging to the fantasy?

If you thought anyone was asking if climate scientists said Ferguson was right on covid science, you misunderstood the question. Why would anyone care if they did, since they have no expertise on the matter?

You did not understand that asking for a scientist that supports Ferguson means asking if any of them said he was right about covid? That’s what you’re going with? You really are in a corner. I don’t think you come up with one and you haven’t surprised me and done so. I’m satisfied at this point.

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago

political science won’t count

And statistics? Nothing to do with mathematical epidemiology?

unqualified support is what’s been asked for

Gosh, talk about moving the goalposts. The original challenge was “All of scientists supporting Ferguson’s disastrous utterings.” Now it has to be unqualified support by epidemiologists.

[…] he was wrong on covid

Oh, so now it needs to be covid? Those goalposts are just a blur, aren’t they? I wonder you can keep up.

Numerous quotes have been provided from his peers

Not by you. So far we have just one, namely Giesecke, and there’s a whole article here on Unherd in which they thrash out their differences: it’s simply wrong to say that they are completely opposed.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pinch

Yes, the subject is, wait for it, covid. See article you’re posting on.

And yes it has to be peer support. The same way it was peer criticism.

And yes the supporters have to be supporting Ferguson’s utterings. Since those are, wait for it, the issue.

You’re out of ammo. Just firing blanks.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago

Ferguson and his unbelievable high mortalities are a disgrace. NYC has numbers very similar to Manaus and indeed Brazil is doing better than Argentina, Peru, and the UK.

It’s amazing how people don’t seem to remember that WHO used to mention and infection fatality ratio of 1% – 5%
While most countries seem to be converging to a value of 0.1% – 0.3%.

That Ferguson still talks remorseless about all of this is indeed very scary

Richard Pinch
Richard Pinch
1 year ago
Reply to  Fran Martinez

Manaus reports a death toll of 0.15% of population, with little formal intervention. New York City has 25,000 deaths in a population of 8.4 million, which is 0.3% of population, after strong social restrictions. Are these outcomes so “very similar”?

andrew harman
andrew harman
1 year ago

Why in the name of Christ is this foul, vile creature given any coverage at all. He should be stripped of all academic status and made to work as a dustman. He would then be far more value to society.

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew harman

I thought long and hard but I can’t think of any reason to disagree with what you say.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
1 year ago

Might be because in Manaus they don’t have our healthcare system, including oxygen; not really a comparable situation.

chriscowanuk
chriscowanuk
1 year ago
feldmanvick
feldmanvick
1 year ago

A short one: why is Ferguson still advising to SAGE? And why is still employed by ICL? It’s not his first blunder, but may have cost tremendous price, for which he will never be held accountable. BTW, there are courageous experts who are taking the situation to courts: https://youtu.be/nTYuvyoKOQ4

Mark H
Mark H
1 year ago

One thing to bear in mind with Brazil is the young population and hard life that many live. I suspect that the proportion of vulnerable people in Manaus is lower than in European countries. It would be interesting to compare with other Brazilian cities where there were lockdowns of varying degrees of strictness.
However a strict lockdown doesn’t mean that, in Brazil, it gets taken seriously.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
1 year ago

Unfortunately, Ferguson is not only lying that the West had emulated China, he also obfuscates the circumstances and conditions under which Chinese quarantine was implemented: total compensation for not working, security of food, housing and necessities such as medicine, State complete care of the citizens allowing them to not leave their homes and stay isolated. The 180 degree opposite happened in the West: the lockdowns caused enormous suffering, deaths and illness (other than covid). Here is an historical account where the lockdown idea actually came from. Not China… https://www.aier.org/articl

Juana Llorente
Juana Llorente
1 year ago

‘To those people who, still now, object to lockdowns on civil liberties principles, this will be a chilling reminder of the centrality of the authoritarian Chinese model in influencing global policy in this historic year’

True, we copied lockdowns from China but not the rest of interventions, mainly the massive and continuous testing which we haven’t been able to implement in the ‘affluent’, ‘technologically advanced’, ‘savvy’ western countries. The conclusion is that we have glamorously failed tackling the pandemia. Frankly, we only have to look at the number of deaths and western countries are at the top of the charts and of those, the ones with the strictest and toughest lockdowns like Spain are really the brightest pupils. We’d better start looking at the crude facts instead of deceiving ourselves.

hiberneander
hiberneander
1 year ago

Why is it that our Prime Minister finds it so difficult to get rid of bad advisers? It seems that the inner circles of the Conservative Party are so Machiavellian or Byzantine, or one could look further East to the Chinese Imperial courts (choose your dynasty) or to Japan.

Two things spring to mind: this article Inside the Westminster power couples running British politics (Telegraph)

and this cartoon from the leadership contest following David Cameron’s resignation: https://www.telegraph.co.uk

Martin Tuite
Martin Tuite
1 year ago

It’s worth noting here that Sweden’s anti lockdown coronavirus experiment has well and truly failed. The country gained early praise from some for shunning lockdown, but it now has one of the highest per-capita rates of coronavirus death in the world.
In the population as a whole, the impact of Sweden’s approach is unmistakable. More than 94,000 people have so far been diagnosed with COVID-19, and at least 5895 have died. The country has seen roughly 590 deaths per million – on par with 591 per million in the United States and 600 in Italy, but many times the 50 per million in Norway, 108 in Denmark, and 113 in Germany.
Andrew Ewing, an analytical chemist at the University of Gothenburg says: “I worry that countries around the world are going to say, ‘We can try what Sweden did.’ But we have killed too many people
already.”

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Tuite

All cause excess mortality for Sweden is 10% for New Zealand its 9%. It hasn’t failed at all. Its simply a holistic view has been taken off health care needs rather than save a specific cohort of lives (The demented and elderly). 90% of all deaths are over 70 and many of those 80+. Those people died so that the health service in Sweden could function during the Pandemic phase and save other lives.

robbie.w.hammond
robbie.w.hammond
1 year ago

Hi Freddie – I would suggest there are two reasons why you find quite a different death statistic (less than a quarter predicted) for Manaus.

First if you compare reported Covid deaths in Brazil to excess mortality during the Spring, there is roughly a 50% increase – unsurprising when many poor people were dying at home, and Covid PCR tests were hard to come by.

Secondly, Manaus has a very different age profile to the UK (a lot younger), so has a far lower incidence fatality ratio (IFR). I don’t know precise numbers but have read elsewhere that in Sao Paolo, IFR was about 3 times higher than Manaus (not sure on accuracy of this).

So if you add these two factors on, likely you are much closer to Professor Ferguson’s prediction.

Michelle Johnston
Michelle Johnston
1 year ago

Ferguson should model the consequential damage of Lockdowns. This year in England over 26,000 excess deaths have occurred in homes which are entirely un related to Sars Cov 2 where does that fit into his modelling. Source ONS data 4th December 2020.

Wheres the modelling for mental health issues, lost education broken lives?

michaelrieveley
michaelrieveley
1 year ago

The problem with any calculation of the numbers of deaths that may or may not have occurred under given circumstances is that for the individual any death is a tragedy. The fact that Covid has killed more in the US than lost their lives in WW2 is a a sobering statistic. When death gets even closer to home and with Covid once again rampant through out the UK it is not a theoretical statistic that concerns the vast majority. The concern is for not only self preservation but also relatives and loved ones. There are even among us those who care for our communities and the nation.
There will always be argument concerning priorities over our economic well-being, prioritization of different health issues and so on. However until we get control or if lucky eliminate this pandemic then we will be constantly hampered in our attempts to progress in all the other pressing needs.