Professor Neil Ferguson

Professor Neil Ferguson Says Netherlands-Style Lockdown Unlikely in Britain

Professor Neil Ferguson has declared that Britain’s Covid cases and hospitalisations may be “petering out”, adding that the country is unlikely to need a Netherlands-style lockdown because antibody levels are higher in the U.K. population due to higher case numbers earlier in the year. MailOnline has more.

The Professor at Imperial College London told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’ve had two or three weeks of declining cases and admission to hospitals, that may be petering out, it is too early to say.

“There is a hint of an uptick in the last few days.

“But we are in quite a different situation from those European countries you are talking about (the Netherlands, Germany).

“We’ve had very high case numbers, between 30,000 and 50,000 a day, really for the last four months, since the beginning of July.

“That has obviously had some downsides. It has also paradoxically had an upside of boosting the immunity of the population compared with countries like Germany, the Netherlands and France, which have had much lower case numbers and are only now seeing an uptick.”

The Epidemiologist, whose modelling helped instigate the first lockdown last year, said he hopes the U.K. can “avoid” returning to social distancing restrictions this winter.

He said: “I think it is unlikely we will get anything close to what we had last year, that catastrophic winter wave.

“We might see slow increases as we did in October, for instance, but not anything as rapid as we saw last year.

“We can’t be complacent, but at the moment I don’t think we’ll be in a situation the Netherlands is coming into where they really do need to get on top of rising case numbers using social distancing.

“I very much hope we can avoid that in this country.”

The expert also said modelling from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has indicated that rolling out booster vaccinations to the “younger age groups” once the most vulnerable have been jabbed could help “drive down transmission to low levels” in Britain.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: When lockdown sceptics have suggested that natural immunity can provide you with protection that’s at least as robust as the Covid vaccines – with all the attendant implications for vaccine passports, ‘No Jab, No Job’, etc. – they’ve been branded “anti-vaxxers”. Does this mean Professor Lockdown is now an anti-vaxxer?

We Should Ask the Modellers to Prove their Models Can Accurately Predict the Future Before Following their Advice Again

We’re publishing a guest post today by Dr. David Livermore, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of East Anglia, arguing that the SAGE modellers should be asked to prove their bona fides before we follow their advice again. He has come up with a simple test: build a model that can accurately predict the course of the 1889-94 ‘Russian Flu’ pandemic based on data available in 1891. If they can’t – if there are simply too many variables – then we shouldn’t base policy decisions on their predictions of how the current Covid epidemic is likely to play out in England. Here is an extract in which he lays out his rationale for setting this challenge:

Since Freedom Day in July, we’ve had predictions from Prof Ferguson alone that “cases would hit 100,000 per day” and then that the pandemic would be “over by October”. More recently we’ve had a boast that while suppression policies had their “downsides” they had proved “very effective” at reducing mortality over the last two years. Then, this week, when the pandemic was supposed to be over, Prof F has warned that Plan B, with masks, vaccine passports and WFH will soon be needed. All this strikes me as ad hoc guesswork based on short term trends, not modelling at all.

Closures and restrictions, if enforced, cause untold damage to real lives and real livelihoods. So, it is time to call the modellers out and to set a test, before they have the chance to inflict more harm. Medics, nurses, physios, medical lab scientists, and clinical scientists all must demonstrate competency to be licensed. There is no such regulation for modellers. Yet their advice, adopted by the Government, affects millions whereas a bad doctor can only harm one patient at a time.

So, in the absence of regulation, let me set a challenge.

This is an excellent piece from one of the country’s leading experts on infectious diseases. Very much worth reading in full.

As David says, if any modellers want to take up his challenge I’d be happy to publish the results in the Daily Sceptic.

Letter in the Telegraph Says Modellers Are Partly to Blame for Care Home Fiasco

There was a good letter in the Telegraph yesterday, pointing out that SAGE and its modellers need to accept some of the blame for the care home fiasco. After all, if the Government and the NHS hadn’t been persuaded by their apocalyptic models that hospitals would be overwhelmed if they didn’t clear out elderly, care home residents, they wouldn’t have been in such a hurry to get rid of them.

SIR – Matt Hancock, the NHS and the Prime Minister have all been blamed by Dominic Cummings for the appalling care-home Covid deaths at the start of the pandemic, but I feel none of these are the real culprits.

At the time, pandemic data modellers were forecasting huge numbers likely to need hospitalisation. So the Government, using the Armed Services, built Nightingale emergency hospitals in double-quick time.

The NHS, spooked by alarmist modellers, cleared the hospitals of all the non-Covid patients they clinically could, anticipating a deluge of Covid patients. Unfortunately, no one knew of non-symptomatic carriers, and the care homes were infected, with devastating results.

The hospital deluge predicted by modellers didn’t materialise, nor anywhere near it. The Nightingale hospitals were hardly used.

So, in apportioning blame for the horrendous care-home deaths, excitable modellers and their statistics, based on unrealistic assumptions, must be the primary culprits. It was a case of “following the science” that led policy-makers astray.

Steve Male
Highampton, Devon