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Epidemiologist Behind Highly-Cited
Coronavirus Model Admits He Was Wrong,
Drastically Revises Model

Original Article

Posted By: SoSensible, 3/26/2020 1:15:35 PM

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


This reminds me of the hockey stick. I have a sinking feeling we are in hoax territory again, as Trump first claimed. Hard to know whom to believe anymore, but I'll stick with him.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: Urgent Fury 3/26/2020 1:20:33 PM (No. 358767)
Oops, sorry folks, didn't mean to panic the globe and crash the world economy.
38 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: MattMusson 3/26/2020 1:22:22 PM (No. 358771)
Last month before the first case hit the USA, I modeled it out the CV to be between 2 million and 10 million cases and 200k deaths. The US was more aggressive fighting the influx than I figured. But, the CV is more contagious than originally thought. So, I think 10 million cases is still a high number. And, with Hydroxychoroquinine I am hopeful that deaths will remain under 100K.
8 people like this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: Pinkpanther 3/26/2020 1:29:38 PM (No. 358781)
Correct link:
3 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Hermoine 3/26/2020 1:32:05 PM (No. 358788)
There needs to be accountability for these so-called "experts" at the end of this crisis.
23 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: earlybird 3/26/2020 1:32:30 PM (No. 358789)
Link goes to index. Here is link to article:
4 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: Calvinesq 3/26/2020 1:39:09 PM (No. 358795)
There must be consequences for this false end-times prophet.
11 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: hammondb3 3/26/2020 1:40:38 PM (No. 358797)
So, according to the article... President Trump may end up STILL being 'spot on' when he said this would be like the flu. That's gonna be fun to watch.
15 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: Suzi 3/26/2020 1:42:45 PM (No. 358799)
Our hospital is not currently experiencing an influx of sick COVID-19 patients. Sure, its a small town. But I read this comment yesterday in response to an article that asked if California is going to be like Italy: "I have a close friend who lives in CA and works for a medical supply company, he makes deliveries to hospitals from San Francisco to San Diego all day every day. He tells me every hospital he has been to all week have been ghost towns. So you tell me, where are all the infected people swamping hospitals? If anyplace, CA is at the front of the infection curve and they have nothing going on in their hospitals. This is all fear porn and hype from the fake news MSM and when this plays out, and it's only going to take a couple more weeks, the fake news MSM are going to look as stupid as the did when hillary lost. I am not saying the Chinese flu is a hoax, just that is is being blown out of proportion by the fake news MSM in an epic fear mongering lie." FEAR PORN.
26 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: PCMM 3/26/2020 1:45:09 PM (No. 358801)
Trump got played. If he signs away $2T and creates a new world where bio weapons are proven to work against capitalism, unemployment dollars exceed work dollars and govs have complete control over our businesses and movement, then the USA is dead and buried. It’s over without even a single shot being fired. Cancel the revolution/boogaloo along with everything else. Who knew the USA was so weak? Pathetic.
14 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: john56 3/26/2020 1:48:47 PM (No. 358806)
It's kind of like the guy who predicts the end of the world. Someday he may be right, but it probably isn't today.
9 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: Hard Nard 3/26/2020 1:49:13 PM (No. 358807)
Using his "new" figures, the predicted deaths in the UK may only be in the .04 range. Modifying his figures for the US gives us a predicted death rate of 88,000 people. I'm thinking that if true the pandemic may turn out to be less deadly than the usual yearly flu breakouts.
7 people like this.

Reply 12 - Posted by: john56 3/26/2020 1:50:07 PM (No. 358810)
Or, like they say about economists -- They have successfully predicted eight of the last three recessions. Or the stock market/investment scenario -- There's more money to be made in giving advice than taking that advice.
12 people like this.

Reply 13 - Posted by: Vaquero45 3/26/2020 1:59:08 PM (No. 358819)
If you're an epidemiologist and you publish a study that every nut in government latches onto, and it crashes an economy and throws millions lives into turmoil, and it's WRONG by ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE - you can't just shrug your shoulders with a coprophagic grin on your face and say "oops - my bad!" This guy should be strung up by his thumbs.
25 people like this.

Reply 14 - Posted by: RedWhite&Blue2 3/26/2020 2:03:55 PM (No. 358825)
Purposely mongering fear? Or just another idiot?
12 people like this.

Reply 15 - Posted by: DCGIRL 3/26/2020 2:06:36 PM (No. 358831)
Check his political bet he is a liberal.
14 people like this.

Reply 16 - Posted by: andyboy 3/26/2020 2:08:33 PM (No. 358834)
Now they tell us. We conservatives are forever mocked because we "reject science" -- and yet here is another example of a widely respected "scientist" (in this case an epidemiologist, not a climatologist) whose dire doomsday predictions have terrified the world and may turn out to be not just wrong but incredibly wrong.
15 people like this.

Reply 17 - Posted by: Doc1 3/26/2020 2:09:59 PM (No. 358837)
Just like the climate change models.
15 people like this.

Reply 18 - Posted by: earlybird 3/26/2020 2:13:56 PM (No. 358842)
We have a few subtle trolls hanging around. In olden thymes they were called site pests. Anyone else remember motp?
19 people like this.

Reply 19 - Posted by: ladydawgfan 3/26/2020 2:17:04 PM (No. 358846)
"Coprophagy" [kəˈpräfəjē] NOUN the eating of feces or dung. My thanks to #13 for a new word in my lexicon. And I agree. These "scientists" ought to be strung up by whatever sticks out furthest from their bodies!!
10 people like this.

Reply 20 - Posted by: fayebeck 3/26/2020 2:29:06 PM (No. 358858)
#9 is correct. I have said many times for years that America does not have the will or inclination to make very difficult decisions. Many mutter "lock and load", "but ammo" and such drivel. But when it comes time to hit the streets most of us will sit home and watch it all unfold on TV many muttering "lock and load". We are content to "out hero" everyone. Burn candles. have vigils and watch Trey Gowdy eviscerate some dimwit who happens to be winning.
4 people like this.

Reply 21 - Posted by: DVC 3/26/2020 2:46:26 PM (No. 358877)
Models are models, and the validity of extremely simple models of EXTREMELY COMPLEX processes, like an epidemic, are very questionable. The beginning of an epidemic follows "an exponential curve". But what is the doubling time? How efficiently is the disease transmitted? Does one person, on average infect 25 people or 1.2 people? Unknowable in advance. And people react, if a model is accurate on days one through three, the reactions of individuals, companies, counties, cities, central governments and families will CHANGE the curve at unknown rates, completely changing the disease trajectory -- and not accounted for in you simple mathematical model. I made a living for 35 years making mathematical models of moderately complex engineering systems. This is why I do not buy the BS climate models. A simple model can sketch out a WORST CASE, guaranteed not to happen. People reacting to mitigate it, in a billion different ways guarantees it will be better than worse case. Look at Italy and Germany, physically close, one has 124 deaths per million, one has 3 deaths per million. Can a model predict that? Never.
12 people like this.

Reply 22 - Posted by: Urgent Fury 3/26/2020 2:59:44 PM (No. 358889)
Ha Ha I forgot about "site pests"!
5 people like this.

Reply 23 - Posted by: Flagstone 3/26/2020 3:13:58 PM (No. 358903)
The model was based off 13 year old, undocumented code that the author wrote. He did not and will not release the code for scrutiny, only an online model after it has been “refactored” by Microsoft. This is absolutely like the garbage climate change model where code reviews highlighted all sorts of number tweaks. Sorry, didn’t mean to crater the world’s economy oh and ignore the fact that his organization just happens to be very active in climate change as well...
8 people like this.

Reply 24 - Posted by: DVC 3/26/2020 3:15:40 PM (No. 358905)
Looking for trends....MAYBE found a good one, but only two days, so will need to hold for a while to be a real trend. What? Yesterday the US gained about 9500 new cases (from memory), today the gain is LOWER at about 7500 new cases. About 20% lower, big enough to look like it is real, not a fluke. We will see. But a slowing of the number of new cases is the first leading indicator of getting this thing to start to "roll over" and flatten out. Possibly a tiny ray of sunshine. Tomorrow's number will tell us more. Kansas had zero new cases, zero deaths today.
5 people like this.

Reply 25 - Posted by: Mass Minority 3/26/2020 3:27:38 PM (No. 358922)
Unfortunately, #13, Yes You Can (Shoulder shrug and all) and the academic world and the media (if the error helped the left anyway) will quickly drop the whole thing down the memory hole. Academics will be praising this guys courage in admitting his mistake while simultaneously absolving him of any blame for the damage done. By Saturday morning it will be entirely forgotten, by Monday afternoon the new and revised model will be the only model ever used and by Tuesday President Trump will be blamed for the overwrought response to the pandemic. The left is already trying to hang the worst unemployment numbers in history mantle around Trumps neck as if his fiscal policies caused the problem. And pundits all over the interwebosphere are gleefully predicting a recession worse than the crash of 1929, all because of that evil bad orange man.
5 people like this.

Reply 26 - Posted by: LC Chihuahua 3/26/2020 3:39:52 PM (No. 358939)
Medical doctors always present worst case scenarios. That might work for individuals. It does not work for governments.
1 person likes this.

Reply 27 - Posted by: bad-hair 3/26/2020 3:50:08 PM (No. 358952)
Thanx for flying BUDGET airlines. This is your Captain speaking. WUPS.
0 people like this.

Reply 28 - Posted by: DVC 3/26/2020 3:56:10 PM (No. 358958)
Cancel the possible sunshine in post #24. Latest numbers for the USA are 11,860 new cases for the day. That is up from 9500ish yesterday, apparently the earlier numbers were just incomplete data for today. So, still increasing. 9500, 11,860--- waiting for this trend line to start to flatten, stop accelerating. 🙁
3 people like this.

Reply 29 - Posted by: EQKimball 3/26/2020 4:09:34 PM (No. 358964)
Well, at least he is better than the people who predicted an open Arctic Ocean, rising seas and the end of snow, who then went out and bought executive jets and beach front property. Glad Trump is the president and not the professionals who know everything.
3 people like this.

Reply 30 - Posted by: DVC 3/26/2020 4:11:24 PM (No. 358966)
#8, look at NYC. Glad to hear California is doing well. Great news.
2 people like this.

Reply 31 - Posted by: Heraclitus 3/26/2020 4:15:41 PM (No. 358971)
The virus is highly contagious. I heard early on that it turns lungs fibrotic. I've never heard that repeated, but given the fact that respirators are vital for a patient's survival, i'm guessing that the nature of the lung infection is especially horrible. But most people seem to be able to overcome, most DO survive. Those who do not are probably exhausted, don't eat right, have underlying health issues. At some point all the data will have to be revealed. To criticize President Trump for "falling for" the alarmism isn't fair. If he had disregarded or disregards the recommendations from the medical community and things got as bad as they are OR less bad OR certainly worse, it would be over for him (and us) for sure. Now, in an article posted prior to this one, we're told that POTUS didn't follow NSC guidelines on producing/gathering adequate supplies. What we see is a broad spectrum of confusing "facts", no understanding of the origins of this "novel corona virus", a media with its pants on fire ALL THE DOGGONE DAY. We've heard maybe one or two intelligent, thoughtful, insightful questions from the media (with the exception of Fox, but even some of their people fall into the MSM line too readily) over this entire period of time.
1 person likes this.

Reply 32 - Posted by: jeffkinnh 3/26/2020 5:05:05 PM (No. 359004)
Garbage in, Garbage out. ALL models make assumptions about data relationships, how much of this causes how much of that, often in complex manners. The complexity introduces more numbers to be gathered and calculated. The calculations may hold for one type of interaction but not quite for another. "Fudge factors" are introduced to tune the model. For the CHinese virus, most of these numbers are in flux. The surprise is not that the predictions are changing. It would be astonishing if they were not given a new virus introduced into a world population that may have different responses for all sorts of factors like age, sex, ethnicity, etc . The disappointment is that the people that make models insist that they are accurate and that serious decisions should be made based on their output. Many models collapse with different nuances of the thing being studied. Many collapse because the modeler failed to consider all important variables. Unfortunately, many governments hang their hats on models because they can dodge responsibility for being wrong because the "model mislead them". Media also likes models because they don't have to think or take responsibility for being wrong. "The experts" told me their models say "this". Models should be A tool, not the decision maker.
7 people like this.

Reply 33 - Posted by: kono 3/26/2020 6:21:55 PM (No. 359082)
Hard to tell whom to believe, as O.P. says. Also hard to believe the adjusted predictions from the officials, after they just acknowledged that their previous predictions were off by an order of magnitude. I receive every forecast with cynical skepticism.
1 person likes this.

Reply 34 - Posted by: mc squared 3/26/2020 6:29:27 PM (No. 359088)
"Experts Usually Wrong Say Experts,
3 people like this.

Reply 35 - Posted by: bamboozle 3/26/2020 6:32:37 PM (No. 359091)
Why should I believe this guy's latest projection when his first attempts were so far off?
2 people like this.

Reply 36 - Posted by: red1066 3/26/2020 6:47:28 PM (No. 359104)
Does this guy also predict climate change?
2 people like this.

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