This letter to the Telegraph from over a month ago puts things simply and clearly. Ennos points out, referring to disgraced Prof Ferguson’s model:
“The model predicts that, under the sustainable public health measures taken by Sweden and in the absence of lockdown, there should now be 60,000 deaths in that country from Covid-19, whereas there are currently only about 3,000 there, with deaths now well past the peak and declining.“
The Telegraph published this on 9th May, some six weeks ago. We now have a lot more data, as well as predictions from other Epidemiologists who said that Ferguson’s estimate was wrong by a factor of ten. Given that, we should expect some 6,000 deaths in Sweden, not 60,000. Currently, Swedish deaths have reached 5,000 and continue their steady decline. It looks as though they will indeed reach about 6,000 by the time the epidemic ends. With the wisdom of hindsight, we can now see who made the better predictions, and it wasn’t Ferguson.
Most significantly, Prof Ennos goes on to say:
“Continuing the blanket lockdown cannot be justified on the basis that it is ‘following the science'”.
If it wasn’t justified six weeks ago, it certainly isn’t now.
Article in Full:
(It was published in the Telegraph here and also appeared in The Week magazine as at very bottom of article.
Letters: The blanket lockdown cannot be justified by ‘following the science’
Science proceeds by putting forward conjectures or hypotheses, collecting empirical data to test them, and accepting, rejecting or modifying them on that basis. The implication is that our scientific understanding is not fixed, but changes as evidence accumulates. In the UK, the initial decision to impose lock down to control the effects of Covid-19 was based on a conjecture or model that has now been tested against real data, and is found to be wanting.
The model predicts that, under the sustainable public health measures taken by Sweden and in the absence of lockdown, there should now be 60,000 deaths in that country from Covid-19, whereas there are currently only about 3,000 there, with deaths now well past the peak and declining.
Given the failure of the model to make useful predictions, there is no justification for using it to guide future policy. In contrast, a large amount of empirical evidence has now been gathered which demonstrates that for a very large fraction of the population, the virus poses a very low risk, while a small fraction – whose immune systems are compromised – are vulnerable. Therefore, to follow the science, an appropriate policy is the targeted shielding of those who choose to be classified as vulnerable, rigorous screening of their carers to prevent transfer of infection to the vulnerable sector, and release from lockdown for those outside these categories.
Continuing the blanket lockdown cannot be justified on the basis that it is “following the science”.
Professor Richard Ennos, Edinburgh