Prominent Epidemiologist Revises Death Estimates Sharply Down

Hopefully he’s right this time. If so, this is positive news.

Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who created the highly-cited Imperial College London coronavirus model, which has been cited by organizations like The New York Times and has been instrumental in governmental policy decision-making, offered a massive revision to his model on Wednesday.

Ferguson’s model projected 2.2 million dead people in the United States and 500,000 in the U.K. from COVID-19 if no action were taken to slow the virus and blunt its curve.

However, after just one day of ordered lockdowns in the U.K., Ferguson has changed his tune, revealing that far more people likely have the virus than his team figured. Now, the epidemiologist predicts, hospitals will be just fine taking on COVID-19 patients and estimates 20,000 or far fewer people will die from the virus itself or from its agitation of other ailments.

Ferguson thus dropped his prediction from 500,000 dead to 20,000.

31 Responses to Prominent Epidemiologist Revises Death Estimates Sharply Down

  1. jjf says:

    Don’t mislead the public.

    The original report described two methods of responding: mitigation and suppression.  Doing nothing might be the 2.2 million dead.  Suppression is what everyone except for a few totalitarian/authoritarian counters are using.

    As it said in the report:

    In total, in an unmitigated epidemic, we would predict approximately 510,000 deaths in GB and 2.2 million in the US, not accounting for the potential negative effects of health systems being overwhelmed on mortality.

  2. Jason says:

    No jiffy, you’re not understanding the revision. What is revised is that there are magnitudes more people that are already infected and over it, up to a month earlier than it hit the news. So that changes the denominator on the death rate and 2.2 million becomes 100,000 or less IF NOTHING IS DONE (unmitigated epedimic).

    What is being found out is that this really is similar death rates to annual flu. The only issue I see is that this virus is more environmentally resilient than influenza and so it won’t die down as fast as the flu does when the summer temps hit the US.

    Hard thinking, I know, but please try to use some braincells.

  3. jjf says:

    Go for it, Jason.  Read the report, tell me what its suppression (not mitigation) numbers are, tell me what he revised them to, tell me why “sharply” is the right way to describe going from the worst numbers they could imagine, to the numbers they imagined under suppression in the report, to whatever number is claimed here.  Hints:  Table 4 and R0.

  4. Jason says:

    Hint, that’s the old report and not the revised report.  No need to link to it, it’s invalid and the author even admits it.  If you’re capable of recognizing your own shortcomings you should feel embarrassed now.

  5. jjf says:

    Go ahead, Jason, show me the new report.  Show me the number in old report, show me the number in the new report.

    Saying “Ferguson thus dropped his prediction from 500,000 dead to 20,000.” is very misleading.

  6. Jason says:

    >UK deaths from the disease are now unlikely to exceed 20,000, he said, and could be much lower.


    He said it himself.  And the fact that he’s attributing it to 2 days of a quarantine in the UK is laughable.  It’s because the ratio changed, nothing more.

  7. jjf says:

    Yup, follow along.  And what number did he have for UK deaths in the “old” report under a suppression strategy?

  8. Jason says:

    The wrong number.  He admits the “old” report numbers were wrong.  As I said it’s laughable that less than 48 hours after “suppression strategy” has been enacted, he’s changed his numbers and sayings its from said strategy.


    The numbers have changed because he grossly underestimated the number of people infected and that changed the mortality rate.  That’s the only reason the numbers have changed.

  9. jjf says:

    It’s because table 4 has somewhat high values for R0.   The purpose of suppression is to reduce R0.

    So if people were already being careful before lockdown, R0 was dropping, which is a good thing.

    And there’s no “new” report, right?

  10. Jason says:

    >It’s because table 4 has somewhat high values for R0. 

    You’re starting to grudgingly concede the point.  Good boy.  ‘

    However, the word “somewhat” is a gross understatement on your part.  You shouldn’t mislead the public.

  11. dad29 says:

    Jiffy will NOT admit that he swallowed the biggest pile of BS issued in the last several years.  He will NOT read what Ferguson said, he will NOT read what the Stanford profs said…….Jiffy wants the economy to collapse.

  12. jjf says:

    Did you even read the paper?  Table 4 shows a matrix of what happens with several R0 values, with several suppression techniques.  What’s wrong with that?  They used R0 values they thought were reasonable when they wrote the paper.

    Dad29, you’re so dramatic.  Which part of your body tingles when you say things like that?

  13. Jason says:

    Jiffy, the problem is table 4 with its different techniques is magnitudes off. Unless you really think that less than 48 hours of suppression led to the best R-naught number on that table.

    Its ridiculous for you to suggest that, it’s not scientifically possible. I think Leroy was just saying how it’s time for facts and not opinions in these dire times. You should take note of that.

  14. Mar says:

    jjf is just hoping for the highest number of dead as possible.
    He’s very ghoulish about this. He just hopes the higher the death toll, the better the chances of Trump losing in November.
    He’s just being political

  15. jjf says:

    Mar, have you caught Dad29’s drama virus?  If I think suppression is a reasonable approach, and there are literally people out there now saying it would be OK to sacrifice themselves because they’re old, and OK to sacrifice Grandma because she’s old, and that there’s a greater number of acceptable deaths that would result from less strict lockdown…  I’ll let you guess which party they’re in.

  16. jjf says:

    Jason, what on Earth do you think R0 is?  Do you think R0 is going to vary between NYC and Montana?  Orders of magnitude, you say?  Tell me more.  Where’s the “new report” you’re talking about?

  17. Mar says:

    Show me a person who has said that, jjf.
    And the quote and link.

  18. jjf says:

    OK, here’s one. 

    I believe Fox news commentator Brit Hume stepped up to defend him, in agreement.  Glenn Beck is another.

    Are you not paying attention?

  19. Mar says:

    That is such a BS story. He said nothing about death panels or letting grandma die.
    He said that us older people should go out and lead the comeback by leading people out of the shelter in place.
    He also implied most older people are not snowflakes and will take the chance of going out and going to work, eat in restaurants etc.
    Nice try though.

  20. jjf says:

    There you go, Mar.  First you pretend it didn’t happen and that you’d never heard of it, then you demand a link, then tell me it doesn’t mean what it says.  How high should I jump next time?  Do I get a Dilly Bar?

  21. Mar says:

    How high of a bar you should jump?
    Not very high if you just tell the truth.
    Can you even do that?
    Maybe on the left blogs you visit, you can get away with your lies, but not here.

  22. Jason says:

    Your article quoted one persons opinion of himself… that does not relate to your statement of killing grandma. You couldnt even jump over a shadow of a bar with something that flimsy.

    By the way, r0 does change based on environmental factors. It does not change from less than 48 hours of issuance of “stay at home orders”. It also changes when the estimated number of people infected dramatically increases and the number of dying does not. Hence the change from 2.2 million and 500k dying down to probably less than 20k.

    Just because that newly mentioned 20k is close to the number of the best case cell on table 4, does not correlate them. I know you’re embarrassed now.

  23. jjf says:

    Jason, the 500K was an estimate if nothing was done.  Right?  You have a better different estimate of that?

  24. Jason says:

    Jff, the author admits that that estimate was incorrect based on not knowing that far more people are already infected…. since that changes the ratio, it changed the death estimates.  He said that.  Why are you here arguing with me about it?   If you think he’s wrong with his revised statements, call him up and explain your expertise over his.  Maybe he can help you with “camputers” too, I’m sure they’re a struggle for you.

    I’ll wager you’re close to morbidly embarrassed at this point.

  25. jjf says:

    And Reason magazine says:

    No, British Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson Has Not ‘Drastically Downgraded’ His Worst-Case Projection of COVID-19 Deaths

    But he has raised his estimate of the virus’s reproduction number, which implies a lower fatality rate than his research group initially assumed.

  26. Jason says:

    So you’re now agreeing that the original report as written was indeed flawed?   You’ve been arguing that Table 4 proved it was not…

  27. jjf says:

    Read my original comment again.  Do you still disagree with it?  Claiming the number has been revised from 2.2 million down to – something else, it’s not noted – is not correct.  It’s misleading.  My point stands.

    You seem to have some fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of the paper.  You’re upset its assumptions get some minor corrections in hindsight?

  28. Jason says:

    You’re dizzying when you spin around this much.


    Owen’s point that the report was flawed is absolutely correct.  The numbers are wrong, and your link to Reason magazine shows the author admits it.   You even quoted it.


    “But he has raised his estimate of the virus’s reproduction number, which implies a lower fatality rate than his research group initially assumed”


    So, in fact, the number of that report as written on the 16th of March has not been “revised”.  But it has been admitted to be incorrect – BY THE AUTHOR.  So Owne was not misleading anyone, you have been doing that.


    Semantic away little bitch, you’re wrong, you were wrong, and you’ll be wrong tomorrow.

  29. Pat says:

    Looks like that 15 is going to be down to zero in a couple days.

  30. Jason says:

    Yeah!   Wait, what?  15?   Derp.

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