Professor Neil Ferguson is well known around the world for his work as an infectious disease epidemiologist, and for his model that led to the UK’s abandonment of its collective immunity approach.
Today, Ferguson’s model is widespread and it is used in many countries to estimate how many individuals could be infected and seriously ill if the government did not take drastic measures. Thanks to his model, British leaders say that there have “only” been 18,000 deaths (at time of writing), instead of the 500,000+ predicted if the government did not implement a lockdown [Several scientists are sounding the alarm on how UK’s recording of COVID-19 deaths is overestimated. See Is There A Coronavirus Conspiracy?].
In this article for Business Insider, Bill Bostock introduces us to Ferguson, his successes, as well as his botched prediction on the impact of the 2009 Swine Flu in the UK. It also highlights the problems of Ferguson’s model – the model is outdated and that the capacity to analyze his research lies on Ferguson alone.
The article also mentions the work of Sunetra Gupta at the University of Oxford which challenges what we know about the coronavirus, and the alternative model developed by Mike Cates.
Editor’s Note: Despite being old, and the recorded inaccuracies it predicted, Ferguson’s model continues to be the gold standard in predicting the spread of epidemics. It has never been subjected to closer scrutiny by other researchers, and has been readily accepted by countries without debate.
While it is important to act fast in times of crisis, we must remember that Ferguson’s model has not been infallible. Perhaps the lockdown approach was necessary at the beginning of the pandemic. But as we are receiving more information about COVID-19, governments must learn to adjust. They must either consider new data to revise Ferguson’s projections, or they can work directly with the data in making their decisions [For a better understanding of the impact of Ferguson’s work, and why it shouldn’t be used solely as a basis for addressing COVID-19, read Nicanor Perlas’ new blog entitled Death Rate, Science, Lockdown, Fear, The “New Normal”, Vaccines, Social Control And The Immune System].
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