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Friday, September 25, 2020
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Home COVID-19 How to choose between the virus camps

How to choose between the virus camps

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ISN’T it confusing with so many scientists saying different things? Who to believe? 

First you have the Professor Neil Ferguson camp. According to them, Covid-19 is an unprecedented disease which spreads exponentially and which only lockdowns and indefinite periods of social distancing and mask wearing can keep under control. According to this camp, millions have been saved by lockdowns and if only we had locked down earlier, fewer would have died. We may have a terrible second wave of deaths and so must continue indefinitely with restrictions. It would be irresponsible to do anything else. The collateral damage of these measures (in lives lost and economic damage) is acceptable due to the severity of Covid-19. 

Then you have the camp of Nobel laureate Professor Michael Levitt of Stanford University and Professor Sunetra Gupta of Oxford. According to this camp, Covid-19 is much less severe than originally thought (closer to flu in deadliness). There is a lot of prior immunity in the population and thus herd immunity can be reached at between 10 and 20 per cent (and has already been reached in many places). The disease follows a very similar curve whatever measures are taken and does not spread exponentially. This is a very average pandemic in the scheme of things. The collateral damage of the lockdown measures is unacceptable. 

If Ferguson’s camp are correct, we should willingly submit to our governments, and those who speak out against their measures are irresponsible.

If Levitt’s camp are correct, we are making one of the biggest mistakes of all time and are pushing the world into unimaginable poverty, death and turmoil unnecessarily. It would be irresponsible  not to challenge our governments or speak out. 

Who to believe? In my view there is a Biblical principle that helps us get to the answer: ‘If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.’ (Deuteronomy 18:22)

Let’s test this principle with the data concerning a country that has not locked down: Sweden.

Using Ferguson’s model, the following predictions were made by a Swedish university: ‘The current Swedish public health strategy will result in a peak intensive care load in May that exceeds pre-pandemic capacity by over 40-fold, with a median mortality of 96,000 (95 per cent CI 52,000 to 183,000) being realised by the end of June.’ 

In contrast, Levitt predicted on May 21: ‘You guys are going to have a very hard time when Sweden plateaus at 6,000 deaths, which is 0.6 per 100,000’ (go to 2:01:18).

Sweden has nearly plateaued at 5,780 deaths (as of August 8) and is averaging only 1 ICU admission per day. Michael Levitt got it right with precision accuracy. Ferguson’s best case scenario was off by a multiple of around 10 times and worst case scenario was off by a multiple of around 30 times. Levitt has made many such predictions in the last few months about different countries and repeatedly got it spot on.

Now both have made predictions about a second wave. Ferguson’s camp is predicting a potential massive second wave in the UK, perhaps even worse than the first. Levitt thinks this is ‘crazy’. 

Who do you think we should listen to? Is it not time for the Ferguson camp to admit they were wrong?

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Rowina Seidler
Rowina Seidler is a computer science and AI graduate with an MA in religious education. She is a former teacher and current homeschooling mum. You can follow her on Facebook here.

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