Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Widely-Cited US Coronavirus Projection Drops from 2M Deaths to 84,000

 
Imperial College London’s Neil Ferguson.

Imperial College London made headlines on March 17 for their apocalyptic projection of Coronavirus deaths worldwide. Their lead researcher, Neil Ferguson, claimed that 250,000 citizens of the UK would die from COVID-19. On Thursday, he dramatically reduced it to less than a tenth that number.

Ferguson now claims that UK deaths “could be substantially lower” than 20,000. He adds that two-thirds of these victims would have died in the next six months anyway due to underlying health conditions.

The original study has been repeated endlessly on cable news, adding to the sense of panic among hosts and many in their audience. Nine days ago, Imperial College London claimed that the US would lose up to 2 million Americans. Their new numbers? Just 84,000, again with two-thirds predicted to die within the next six months without Coronavirus.

Imperial’s latest projection would still be considered a major public health problem, but it contains a staggering drop from the worst-case scenario by a factor of 25. Using 2017 figures, 84,000 lost would place Coronavirus as the seventh leading cause of US deaths, tied with diabetes, and far below heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, respiratory disease, stroke, or Alzheimer’s disease.

You can view all the new numbers via Excel file at this link.

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  1. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    Ferguson is about to be canceled.

    • #1
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Suspira Member

    Listen to the experts, they said. They know what they’re talking about. Rrrright.

    • #2
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:17 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  3. Richard Easton Member

    He’ll always have a job with MSNBC.

    • #3
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:19 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Al Sparks Thatcher

    I just started listening to National Review’s The Editors podcast, and it’s like they have not even heard this news, which has been covered in the Daily Wire podcasts, and Powerline.

    It sounds to me that Trump’s prediction of things easing up by Easter is looking more and more realistic.

    There are areas that should probably have restrictions, like New York City, maybe New Orleans, and maybe areas of California.

    Since these lock downs have been initiated by state and local governments, they can make their own decisions when to lift them.

    Now the questions start, and will grow. The part of the medical community that scared the hell out of us and caused us to panic, will get a big black eye over this. And that includes the CDC and the FDA. In the case of the CDC, they generally had a good reputation and that’s been trashed.

    And Trump? He made some missteps, the usual Trump being Trump, but he will come out of this looking better than he has.

    • #4
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. Weeping Member

    Dr. Ferguson says his statements have been misunderstood. (The link is to a Twitter thread.)

    (3rd tweet out of 4) My evidence to Parliament referred to the deaths we assess might occur in the UK in the presence of the very intensive social distancing and other public health interventions now in place.

    (4th tweet out of 4) Without those controls, our assessment remains that the UK would see the scale of deaths reported in our study (namely, up to approximately 500 thousand).

    • #5
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The “experts” are appearing to be about as good at predicting in epidemiology as they are in politics.

    • #6
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    • #7
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Mike H Coolidge

    Hey! I’ve been running my own basic projections.

    Today’s numbers came back with 363k worldwide and 75k in the US.

    Interesting that my numbers came back similar to these.

    • #8
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:41 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Laptop Member
    Laptop Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    At this time point, and from this location (NYC), I only see the “good news” side of this. I want to see all projections scaled way, way down when they meet reality. 

    • #9
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:48 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    And if we are more aggressive with drug treatments, I might just win my bet with @Kozak…

    • #10
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    iWe (View Comment):

    And if we are more aggressive with drug treatments, I might just win my bet with @Kozak…

    Kozak estimates eleventy billion die, right?

    • #11
    • March 26, 2020, at 5:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. WI Con Member
    WI Con Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Of course all those extra people living and exhaling will exacerbate the CO2 levels, reducing that 12 year window down to couple months, tops! 

    • #12
    • March 26, 2020, at 6:06 PM PDT
    • Like
  13. Theodoric of Freiberg Member

    No, a COVID Scientist Didn’t Walk Back His Prediction

    Even so, I think this whole thing has been way overblown. The most dire predictions are going to turn out to be at least 10 times worse than reality.

    • #13
    • March 26, 2020, at 6:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. ShannonKuzmich Coolidge

    Thank you so much for posting this data.

    I’d heard about this yesterday and again today on the Ben Shapiro podcast, and have been looking for coverage of it ever since.

    I was happy to hear Dr. Birx reference this today during the White House briefing. It’s absolutely critical to have accurate data that helps to identify true trends and to develop reasonable projections, especially when you’re trying to run a country! My hope and prayer is for vast improvements in the quantity and quality of the data being reported so that better decisions can be made for immediate needs, and strategies prepared for the path forward.

    • #14
    • March 26, 2020, at 6:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Are Indians (from India) just better at math and statistical modeling?

    • #15
    • March 26, 2020, at 6:24 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Well, with a 2400% margin of error . . . 

    • #16
    • March 26, 2020, at 6:29 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. GFHandle Member

    What I hate most about situations like this is all the finger pointing and I told you so ism. Mistakes will happen. Including, false reports about “walkbacks” in predictions that actually did not happen. And what sane person expects anyone to get everything right given the paucity of data? We don’t have enough test kits to “waste” on random sampling to get better data.

    I hate the progressive idea that experts should govern as much as the next man, but this kerfuffle is hardly an example of that. To me, using the differing models and conclusions to imply that we can’t trust scientists is as frivolous as trying to use the situation to ban gun sales…or abortions for that matter. We are at war.

    • #17
    • March 26, 2020, at 6:56 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. GFHandle Member

    Theodoric of Freiberg (View Comment):

    No, a COVID Scientist Didn’t Walk Back His Prediction

    Even so, I think this whole thing has been way overblown. The most dire predictions are going to turn out to be at least 10 times worse than reality.

    From your lips to God’s ears.

    • #18
    • March 26, 2020, at 6:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    GFHandle (View Comment):

    What I hate most about situations like this is all the finger pointing and I told you so ism. Mistakes will happen. Including, false reports about “walkbacks” in predictions that actually did not happen. And what sane person expects anyone to get everything right given the paucity of data? We don’t have enough test kits to “waste” on random sampling to get better data.

    I hate the progressive idea that experts should govern as much as the next man, but this kerfuffle is hardly an example of that. To me, using the differing models and conclusions to imply that we can’t trust scientists is as frivolous as trying to use the situation to ban gun sales…or abortions for that matter. We are at war.

    There are already articles surfacing from Stanford, Oxford and other sources that indicate that the initial projections were too extreme. The Ricochet Video Podcast tomorrow morning should prove most interesting. The methodology for the exaggerated claims – if that’s what they turn out to be – will be dissected and scrutinized to see where the earlier projections went wrong.

    It’s not as though there hasn’t been a precursor to this potentially flawed methodology given the alarmist predictions of the dire effects of Anthropogenic Global Warming which were based on garbage-in (or deliberately skewed data fed into computer models) to project apocalyptic scenarios…that never happened in the time frames originally claimed — and have now been pushed back to over 1,000 years.

    Yes, there is still extreme risk and possible death to certain health-compromised groups – especially people my age and older whose immune systems may not be as resilient as they once were (I’m pretty healthy by the way – thanks for asking) or those who have other serious medical conditions. But if the death rate projections are corrected downward, then a lot of the hysteria and panic should hopefully diminish, especially if the availability of certain drugs – like hydroxychloroquine and ventilators become readily available for the more at-risk demographic.

    It is healthy for everyone when scientists argue with other scientists and challenge their findings.

    • #19
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:15 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Jon, thanks for the info, but the Excel file doesn’t seem to show the figure that you cite.

    It has two relevant pages, “Mitigation” and “Suppression.” The “Mitigation” page shows US death tolls ranging from 729,256 to 2,780,065. The “Suppression” page shows US death tolls ranging from 84,124 to 2,654,410.

    • #20
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    I’m very confused about the reporting on this or maybe how the authors initially presented it. I finally got around to reading the paper. It includes an analysis based upon scenarios varying from “do nothing” to 4 different types of interventions. The scenarios also take into account different points in the disease spread when the interventions are undertaken and the different possible Ro (transmission) factors for the virus.

    The paper concludes that if the UK did nothing there would be between 410,000 to 550,000 fatalities but if it took the most stringest group of interventions (school closure/social distancing/home quarantine/case isolation) the fatalities drop to a range of 5,600 to 48,000.

    As I read it, nothing has changed except people have noticed how the full analysis works.

    Here’s the link to the paper. The numbers I cite come from the table on page 13.

    • #21
    • March 26, 2020, at 7:48 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  22. GFHandle Member

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    There are already articles surfacing from Stanford, Oxford and other sources that indicate that the initial projections were too extreme. The Ricochet Video Podcast tomorrow morning should prove most interesting. The methodology for the exaggerated claims – if that’s what they turn out to be – will be dissected and scrutinized to see where the earlier projections went wrong.

    Nothing wrong with disagreements. The Oxford Professor said she was surprised at how uncritically the Imperial College model was adopted, though she supports the move from mitigation to suppression in Britain. And as a friend of mine pointed out about the work of Stanford doctors:

    Even if they are right, however, it doesn’t change the dynamics of the disease – it’s still killing a large and exponentially-growing number of people, mostly old people. In Italy (poor Italy!) the currently identified cases number 1 in 750 of the population – 0.13%. If Bendavid and Bhattacharya are right, then the real number infected might be somewhere around 10-20% of the whole population. Whether the death rate is 3% of a small number of (identified) serious cases, or .01% of a much larger number of minor cases, it’s the same death rate. So their assertion, even if true, doesn’t change the outcome.

    It is just way to soon for any of us to start crowing and claiming vindication for our previously held dogmas.

    The Global Warming Hystericists have done a lot of damage including to our ability to trust the objectivity of scientists. Skepticism is always warranted. (The change from “global warming skeptic” to “global warming denier” was one of the most evil, and effective, moves of the propagandists.)

     

     

    • #22
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:17 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Italy’s COVID-19 deaths that are striking the elderly with underlying conditions has a great deal of similarity with the initial outbreak of cases in the Seattle nursing home…and much it has to do with where they are contracting the virus. From a guest columnist at Watts Up With That – a site that typically is devoted to critical analysis of climate science and various alarmist claims come this about the cases of death in Italy:

    I was forced to a curious conclusion, both discouraging and encouraging. It is that most of these diseases were probably not community-acquired. Instead, I would hazard a guess that most of them go by the curious name of “nosocomial” infections, viz:

    nos·o·co·mi·al

    /ˌnōzōˈkōmēəl/

    adjective MEDICINE

    (of a disease) originating in a hospital.

    Here’s what I suspect. I think that the COVID-19 disease got established in a couple of areas in Italy well before anyone even knew the disease was there, perhaps even before the Chinese recognized it as a novel disease.

    And in some fashion, it got into the medical system. Doesn’t matter how. But once there, it was spread invisibly to other patients, in particular the oldest and weakest of the patients. It went from patient to patient, from patient to visitor and back again, and it was also spread by everyone in the hospital from administrators to doctors and nurses to janitors. In many, perhaps most cases, they didn’t even know they were sick, but they were indeed infectious.

    And that’s why the pattern of the Italian deaths is so curious, and their number is so much larger than the rest of the world. It’s not a cross-section of the general population. It’s a cross-section of people who were already quite sick, sick enough that they were already visiting doctors and having procedures or being bedridden in hospitals. It was 85-year-olds with three diseases.

    And it’s also why the death rate in Italy is so high—these people were already very ill. I can see why the Italians are distinguishing between dying FROM the virus and dying WITH the virus.

    I would hat tip the Ricochet member who provided this linked article to me but I can’t remember who it was. Memory is the first thing to go…or so they say.

     

     

    • #23
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:54 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Viruscop Member

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    I’m very confused about the reporting on this or maybe how the authors initially presented it. I finally got around to reading the paper. It includes an analysis based upon scenarios varying from “do nothing” to 4 different types of interventions. The scenarios also take into account different points in the disease spread when the interventions are undertaken and the different possible Ro (transmission) factors for the virus.

    The paper concludes that if the UK did nothing there would be between 410,000 to 550,000 fatalities but if it took the most stringest group of interventions (school closure/social distancing/home quarantine/case isolation) the fatalities drop to a range of 5,600 to 48,000.

    As I read it, nothing has changed except people have noticed how the full analysis works.

    Here’s the link to the paper. The numbers I cite come from the table on page 13.

    I think that a lot of people are acting as if something has changed and we must now never believe experts or something. The only thing that has changed are the policies of governments. The virus is still lethal, and as Ferguson said may be even more lethal than originally thought.

    • #24
    • March 27, 2020, at 7:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Roderic Coolidge

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Jon, thanks for the info, but the Excel file doesn’t seem to show the figure that you cite.

    It has two relevant pages, “Mitigation” and “Suppression.” The “Mitigation” page shows US death tolls ranging from 729,256 to 2,780,065. The “Suppression” page shows US death tolls ranging from 84,124 to 2,654,410.

    I gather the sheet shows the effect of disease suppression strategies, and that the earlier suppression is adopted the better. In the US no suppression = 2,654,410 deaths, maximum suppression started early = 84,124 deaths.

    The method of suppression is social distancing, case isolation, and quarantines which is maintained until a vaccine is developed.

    As it is we’ve got 50 strategies of various intensity. We are mostly talking about mitigation, social distancing for a few months at most to flatten the curve, which would still give us deaths in the hundreds of thousands according to the paper.

    • #25
    • March 27, 2020, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  26. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Ferguson now claims that UK deaths “could be substantially lower” than 20,000. He adds that two-thirds of these victims would have died in the next six months anyway due to underlying health conditions.

    Jon,

    I just made a comment on Rodin’s post. I think it also applies exactly to this news.

    This is the result of living with “the facts don’t matter only the narrative matters” for the last 20 years. When the s$%t really hits the fan then the facts matter or else! Then we try to scramble for facts and the data gathering version of the Keystone Cops takes over.

    Once CNN and the gang get the bit in their teeth it will be very hard to pull back on the reins. They love to scream the sky is falling and news that the sky is not falling will upset them. Of course, Trump seems to thrive on upsetting them so there is hope.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #26
    • March 27, 2020, at 10:52 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Ferguson now claims that UK deaths “could be substantially lower” than 20,000. He adds that two-thirds of these victims would have died in the next six months anyway due to underlying health conditions.

    Jon,

    Wow, did this one catch my eye. We are living through a time when people just want a narrative that they are comfortable with and can’t be bothered to wade through the facts or wait for a careful analysis.

    We pay a price for this. 

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #27
    • March 27, 2020, at 11:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Where is the data of CV-19 deaths by location – people in their homes…people in nursing homes…people in hospitals…people in ICUs – by age and whether they had other underlying or active medical conditions – like cancer, respiratory conditions, diabetes, heart disease, kidney issues (on dialysis) or other health- or immune-compromising issues?

    Unless that specific data starts to become published, then universal numbers that treat all segments equally only serves to propagate a panic narrative.

    There is a reason that Italy has been adversely affected and why the virus ran rampant in a nursing home in Seattle – because nearly all of the victims were elderly with other underlying conditions and in a facility where the virus could easily and quickly propagate amongst the staff and introduced by visitors who were relatively resistant to the effects of the virus.

    There…I feel better now.

    • #28
    • March 27, 2020, at 11:06 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    I think that a lot of people are acting as if something has changed and we must now never believe experts or something. The only thing that has changed are the policies of governments. The virus is still lethal, and as Ferguson said may be even more lethal than originally thought.

    Virus,

    I have seen no one react to this that we must never believe experts, only that one must always remember to believe even experts with a grain of salt. This new report has reduced the projection of the danger from the virus by more than a factor of ten. Also, the lethality of the virus is also questioned by the possibility that most of the deaths were with people that would have had a probable life expectancy of less than 6 months. The regular flu might have killed a majority of these people anyway.

    What this is really about is an unwillingness to understand the difficulty of obtaining hard information. Even the very best experts are forced to make projections on very weak data. Now with more information, their projection has been radically changed. The left claims it “believes in science”. I think this is true because they believe in science as if it were a revealed religion. The right at least recognizes our own fallibility and the limits of finite human knowledge.

    The right will make mistakes because no one is infallible but the left is prone to make much, much larger mistakes because they believe science and experts to be infallible.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #29
    • March 27, 2020, at 1:37 PM PDT
    • Like