Professor Neil Ferguson admitted today that breaking the Covid-19 lockdown for secret deals with his married lover was “the wrong thing to do.”
The shamed scientist, nicknamed “Professor Lockdown” because his grim models convinced ministers to close the UK, said, “I should have followed the rules and I’m sorry.”
Professor Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, sensationally quit his role on the government’s influential SAGE commission after his actions.
In addition to discussing his breach of the rules, he told BBC Radio 4 today that the next stage of the British coronavirus outbreak could resemble a game of ‘whack-a-mole’.
He revealed he doesn’t think a new nationwide lock-up that was imposed on March 23 would be necessary – but said there will likely be targeted local shutdowns.
Professor Neil Ferguson (left), 51, asked his mistress Antonia Staats (right), 38, to travel through London to his home at least twice during the peak of the outbreak, it was revealed in early May
Professor Ferguson, 51, asked his mistress Antonia Staats, 38, to travel through London to his home at least twice during the peak of the outbreak, it was revealed in early May.
Critics argued that his actions “undermined the government’s lockdown message.” He admitted that he made a “judgmental mistake” in his letter of resignation from SAGE.
And he claimed he thought he was “immune” to the disease – despite leading scientists warning that there was still not enough evidence to protect Covid-19 survivors from reinfection.
Regarding his actions that led to his quitting SAGE on BBC 4 podcast Political Thinking, he said, “It was a wrong decision. I should have followed the rules and I regret that. ‘
The director of the MRC Center for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial wrote the report with the apocalyptic prediction that coronavirus could kill 500,000 Britons without action. Depicted is one of his graphs showing how hospitals can be flooded if nothing is done
THE COVID-19 DEATH TOLL OF BRITAIN CAN BE REDUCED BY HALF IF LOCKDOWN IS INTRODUCED A WEEK EARLIER, PROF LOCKDOWN SAYS
The death toll from the British coronavirus could have been halved if measures to stay at home were introduced a week earlier, ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson claimed fourteen days ago.
Boris Johnson imposed the ending on March 23 behind the grim modeling of the Imperial College London scientist, who predicted that 500,000 people could die if the virus was not checked.
Professor Ferguson said that based on what was known at the time about transmission and fatalities, draconian measures were implemented at the right time.
But he admitted that in hindsight, tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if the closure had come a week earlier.
Britain has officially suffered 43,000 fatalities with Covid-19 as the leading cause of death – most in Europe. But the actual death toll is believed to be above 50,000, according to estimates that play a role in suspected cases that have not received a test.
Professor Ferguson, who regularly appeared on TV urging the audience to abide by the lockdown rules, added, “I’m glad it’s behind me now and I understand how people feel disappointed.”
He claimed that many scientists have “had really nasty attacks in personal emails and in the media and that is one of the most regrettable aspects of what has happened.”
The director of the MRC Center for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial wrote the report with the apocalyptic prediction that coronavirus could kill 500,000 Britons without action.
Professor Ferguson’s damning conclusion convinced number 10 to perform a drastic U-turn and imposed the closure. The schools were closed and people had to stay at home.
But since then, doubts have arisen about the grim models, with rival academics accusing him of having a patchy record and others describing his work as “totally unreliable.”
He previously assisted in the decision that led to the clearance of over 6 million animals during the foot-and-mouth disease in 2001, economically destroying the British countryside.
Fellow researchers claim that they were unable to replicate his findings when they attempted to do so using the same data model, branded by one expert as a “ buggy mess. ”
Professor Ferguson also said that Britain should be careful about the lockdown changes that Boris Johnson announced this week.
The prime minister dramatically wound up closing the corona virus on Monday in his plan to “hibernate” the country.
It has made a return for pubs, hairstyles and weddings from July 4, and means family and friends can finally meet up for the first time in months.
Professor Ferguson added, “At the moment we are experimenting honestly. I do not disagree with the policy changes announced this week.
“But I would say that if we start to see an increase in the number of cases, we should keep a close eye on their effects and be prepared to cut back a bit.”
In the interview, which will be broadcast in full tomorrow night, he revealed that he does not expect there will be a uniform resurgence of things that are happening after July 4 across the country.
Instead, the UK is likely to be affected by local outbreaks in food production companies, workplaces and schools, Professor Ferguson said.
He added, “We’ll be playing in some ways, and it’s not a fancy metaphor, a Whack-A-Mole game to quell those outbreaks.
“I think if we go into fall and winter, there is a greater potential risk of a more widespread community transfer.”
Professor Ferguson also revealed that he did not submit his findings directly to the Prime Minister, saying “this is how scientific advice doesn’t work in the UK.”
And he claimed that he welcomed the attendance of the Prime Minister’s Maverick Chief Assistant, Dominic Cummings, at SAGE meetings.
Professor Ferguson said to BBC’s Nick Robinson, “I took it as an indication that number 10 was taking the epidemic much more seriously.”
And he added that any research into pandemic treatment should be delayed until the end of this year.
He said, “At the moment, people are still deeply involved in controlling this epidemic and leaving the lockdown and setting up the track and trace system.
“By the end of this year, it would be about the sort of time I think it’s appropriate to look back.”