Neil Ferguson whose grim warnings prompted Boris Johnson to order TOTAL LOCKDOWN admits Sweden may have suppressed Covid-19 to the same level but WITHOUT draconian measures

Jun 7, 2020 by

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6.3.20 – The Daily Mail

“Neil Ferguson whose grim warnings prompted Boris Johnson to order TOTAL LOCKDOWN admits Sweden may have suppressed Covid-19 to the same level but WITHOUT draconian measures”

by Connor Boyd

The professor whose grim warning that 500,000 Brits may die from Covid-19 without action triggered lockdown has admitted Sweden may have suppressed its outbreak as well as Britain – without imposing the draconian measures. 

Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, revealed he had the ‘greatest respect’ for the Scandinavian nation, which has managed to suffer fewer deaths per capita than the UK. 

He made the comments at a House of Lords Science and Technology Committee today during his first public appearance since flouting stay at home rules to have secret trysts with his married mistress last month.     

The epidemiologist – dubbed Professor Lockdown – has come under fire for his modelling which predicted half a million Britons could die from Covid-19 and heavily influenced the UK’s decision to rush into a nationwide quarantine.  

Professor Ferguson appeared to praise Sweden for keeping infections low without the economically crippling curbs and said ‘they have gone quite a long way to [achieving] the same effect’…

The UK has a death rate of 575 people per million, while Sweden’s is significantly lower at 436 per million. As well as fewer deaths, Sweden’s GDP actually grew in the first quarter of 2020, suggesting it might avoid the worst of the economic fallout from the crisis. 

  • …Professor Neil Ferguson has admitted he is looking ‘very closely’ at Sweden’s coronavirus success to help pave the way for a post-lockdown Britain

…Professor Ferguson told the committee: ‘There are differences in how science has influenced policies in different countries.

‘I have the greatest respect for scientists there [in Sweden]. They came to a different policy conclusion but based really on quite similar science.

‘They make the argument that countries will find it very hard to really stop second waves… I don’t agree with it but scientifically they are not that far from scientists in any country in the world.’  

Professor Ferguson was quizzed about why Sweden had recorded such few deaths without imposing lockdown, and faced questions about whether the economically-crippling measures were necessary in the UK. 

Some experts have claimed that social distancing and strict hand-washing protocols would have been suffice to flatten the epidemic’s curve. 

Professor Ferguson admitted he was stumped as to why Sweden had recorded just 4,000 Covid deaths when some calculations estimated the country would suffer 90,000 without the measures. 

He added: ‘I think it’s an interesting question. It’s clear there have been significant social distancing in Sweden. 

‘Our best estimate is that that has led to a reduction in the reproduction number to around 1.

‘But nevertheless it is interesting that adopting a policy which is short of a full lockdown… they’ve gone quite a long way to [achieving] the same effect…

‘Lockdown is a very crude policy and what we’d like to do is have a much more targeted approach that does not have the same economic impacts.’ 


As of Monday, Sweden has recorded 37,814 cases of coronavirus without going into lockdown

…Professor Keeling told the committee ministers were given information leading up to lockdown about what would happen if the epidemic was just allowed to run.

‘In the early stages, in the absence of a lockdown, the very alarmist values that were coming out were really about a worst-case scenario,’ he said.

‘So if we just let the epidemic run, how bad could it be? And that’s the sort of information policy-makers needed at that time.

‘If the lockdown had been very strict, if we’d have thought more about what was happening in care homes and hospitals, as you’ve heard, early on maybe that was one of the areas where modellers did drop the ball.

‘With hindsight, it’s very easy to say we know care homes and hospitals are these huge collections of very vulnerable individuals, so maybe with hindsight we could have modelled those early on and thought about the impacts there.’

Dr Adam Kucharski, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the committee that ‘speed is really of the essence’ with regards to the test and trace strategy.

‘The nature of the evidence we have on transmission is that by the time someone shows symptoms, they have probably been infectious for a day or two already,’ he said.

‘So that means by the time someone has symptoms, reports as a case, their contacts have potentially already been infected, and those people may themselves become infectious three or four further down, so really very soon after.

‘So I think that what that shows is that for these test and trace, these targeted measures to work, speed is really of the essence.

‘Because as soon as somebody becomes symptomatic, you have a very short time window before their contacts may become infectious, and then you’ve got another generation of transmission to deal with.’ 

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