The epidemiologist behind the most commonly-cited, doomsday Coronavirus model has admitted his initial projections were way off.
Dr. Neil Ferguson, who created the Imperial College London model, has adjusted his projections: instead of 2.2 million Americans dying from Coronavirus, just 88,000–and possibly fewer–can be expected to.
Ferguson had initially predicted 2.2 million Americans and 500,000 Brits could die of Coronavirus unless drastic action was taken by governments, like full-scale economic and social shutdowns.
Ferguson also predicted that, even with these heavy-handed government tactics, both nations’ health systems would be brought to the brink of collapse by the sheer volume of patients.
But now, Ferguson, who has himself tested positive for Coronavirus, has adjusted his predictions. He now says that the death toll will be substantially lower, and that hospitals should have no problem treating the number of Coronavirus patients.
Ferguson’s new projections are especially interesting considering that the United Kingdom was slow to lockdown society. While many Americans have been housebound for nearly two weeks, the UK only started locking down two days ago–not nearly enough to have an impact on the numbers.
Speaking to the UK’s Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology, Ferguson said that he’s now “reasonably confident” that Coronavirus will peak in the UK in just two or three weeks. He added that UK deaths are unlikely to exceed 20,000–and could, in fact, be substantially lower than even that number.
If similar patterns hold across the Atlantic, under Ferguson’s new predictions, 88,000 Americans would die of Coronavirus.
While 88,000 is still a huge number, it’s worth putting into perspective: as many as 59,000 deaths are expected in the 2019-2020 flu season, making Coronavirus only slightly worse.