A UK professor who served as a COVID-19 advisor for the government admitted that a previous prediction about a massive surge of the virus over the summer was askew, adding that a new lockdown likely won’t be needed.
Last month, Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist from Imperial College London and adviser to the government, said that as many as 200,000 cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus could be recorded per day if pandemic restrictions were lifted.
But during a recent interview with The Times of London, Ferguson said that his prediction was “off” due to the Euro cup finals last month.
“We had an artificially inflated level of contact during that period and then suddenly it dropped off,” he told The Times on Saturday, Aug. 7.
Ferguson, who has been sometimes dubbed as “Professor Lockdown” for his promoting of social distancing measures, also suggested that no new lockdowns will be required, arguing that the high vaccination rate contributed to a drop in cases of the CCP virus, which causes COVID-19.
“I think it’s going to transition quite quickly in a few months to be more something we live with and manage through vaccination rather than crisis measures,” he said. “I wouldn’t rule it out altogether, but I think it’s unlikely we will need a new lockdown or even social-distancing measures of the type we’ve had so far. The caveat to that is, of course, if the virus changes substantially.”
But he warned: “I suspect for several years, we will see additional mortality. There’s a risk in the winter coming of thousands to tens of thousands more deaths.”
Ferguson resigned from his government position last year after telling other officials that he undermined the UK government’s messaging on social distancing by meeting with a woman several times.
Late last week, in its weekly survey of the levels of infection across the UK, the Office for National Statistics said case rates appeared to be falling in England, Scotland, and Wales, though not in Northern Ireland, with the declines most noticeable among younger age groups. In England, for example, the statistics agency found that one in 75 people in private households had COVID-19 in the week to July 31, down from one in 65 in the previous week.
Despite fears among some that daily cases rates would hit 100,000 this summer as a result of the more contagious Delta variant and the lifting of lockdown restrictions, infections have fallen to around 30,000 a day, leading to a fall in the number of people requiring hospitalization for COVID-19 symptoms.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.