Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, March 26, 2020

The UK should now be able to cope with the spread of the covid-19 virus, according to one of the epidemiologists advising the government.

Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London gave evidence today to the UK's parliamentary select committee on science and technology as part of an inquiry into the nation's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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"He said that expected increases in National Health Service capacity and ongoing restrictions to people's movements make him "reasonably confident" the health service can cope when the predicted peak of the epidemic arrives in two or three weeks. UK deaths from the disease are now unlikely to exceed 20,000, he said, and could be much lower.

The need for intensive care beds will get very close to capacity in some areas, but won't be breached at a national level, said Ferguson. The projections are based on computer simulations of the virus spreading, which take into account the properties of the virus, the reduced transmission between people asked to stay at home and the capacity of hospitals, particularly intensive care units.

#1 | Posted by Corky at 2020-03-26 02:36 PM | Reply

"The UK government is aiming to relax restrictions on people's movements only when the country has the ability to test more people for the virus, said Ferguson. Some have criticised the UK for not following the advice of the World Health Organization to "test, test, test". But Ferguson said community testing and contact tracing wasn't included as a possible strategy in the original modelling because not enough tests were available.

He said the UK should have the testing capacity "within a few weeks" to copy what South Korea has done and aggressively test and trace the general population.

New data from the rest of Europe suggests that the outbreak is running faster than expected, said Ferguson. As a result, epidemiologists have revised their estimate of the reproduction number (R0) of the virus. This measure of how many other people a carrier usually infects is now believed to be just over three, he said, up from 2.5. "That adds more evidence to support the more intensive social distancing measures," he said.

His comments come as a team at the University of Oxford released provisional findings of a different model that they say shows that up to half the UK population could already have been infected. The model is based on different assumptions to those of Ferguson and others involved in advising the UK government.

Most importantly, it assumes that most people who contract the virus don't show symptoms and that very few need to go to hospital. "I don't think that's consistent with the observed data," Ferguson told the committee."

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Either way, isolation strategies are showing results.

#2 | Posted by Corky at 2020-03-26 02:40 PM | Reply

Epidemiologist who headed Imperial College report team has drastically revised predictions, from potentially over 250k UK deaths to now fewer than 20k.

Report was key in UK strategy.

Either way, isolation strategies are showing results.

I always love it when people are taking credit for this regardless of stance, people aren't actually practicing "isolation strategies" to any extent, only the government has "announced" them.

The reality is the academic model used had a flaw in its assumptions, that incorrect model was used to create panic in the media and possibly resulted in future horrendous economic strife.

#3 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2020-03-26 03:07 PM | Reply

- people aren't actually practicing "isolation strategies" to any extent,

It's Official; Trump may be a great liar, but Mattress is just ignorant.

- a flaw in its assumptions

Not crediting the isolation and distancing enough, you dolt.

- resulted in future horrendous economic strife.

He means not getting another new sail for his boat.

#4 | Posted by Corky at 2020-03-26 03:25 PM | Reply

What if they're wrong and 250,000 actually do die,oops?

#5 | Posted by Effeteposer at 2020-03-26 04:09 PM | Reply

people aren't actually practicing "isolation strategies" to any extent, only the government has "announced" them

#3 | POSTED BY ANDREAMACKRIS

Lol, wat? Do you believe all the footage of empty streets is fake? Thousands of people aren't actually working from home?

#6 | Posted by Derek_Wildstar at 2020-03-26 04:22 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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

That would be f$#@ing great news, since the original Imperial College Report had 510,000 for the worst case scenario.

#7 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-03-26 05:28 PM | Reply

I think the US should conduct an experiment by getting everyone back to work and ending social isolation like Trump wants. Then we can compare what intelligent countries did vs the US.

I am willing to sacrifice 2 million Americans to save the idea that the government should be run by experts and not a lying orange buffoon and his corrupt cronies.

#8 | Posted by bored at 2020-03-26 05:35 PM | Reply

The reality is the academic model used had a flaw in its assumptions, that incorrect model was used to create panic in the media and possibly resulted in future horrendous economic strife.

#3 | POSTED BY ANDREAMACKRIS

Link or stink a#$hole.

#9 | Posted by jpw at 2020-03-26 05:39 PM | Reply

--The reality is the academic model used had a flaw in its assumptions, that incorrect model was used to create panic in the media

But global warming models that claim to predict the climate at the end of the century are "settled science".

#10 | Posted by nullifidian at 2020-03-26 05:44 PM | Reply

"The reality is the academic model used had a flaw in its assumptions"

All models are wrong; some models are useful.
--George E.P. Box

You should have been a model, Andrea, a mattress. Then you might have been useful.

#11 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-03-26 05:46 PM | Reply

Maybe the models are proving wrong due to the unprecedented measures being taken to socially-distance and the like.

#12 | Posted by JeffJ at 2020-03-26 09:43 PM | Reply

#12 It's possible we're outperforming the best-case scenario that was modeled.
Seems more likely some of the underlying assumptions in the model were not accurate.
Also, it's waaaaay too early to tell.

#13 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-03-26 09:47 PM | Reply

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