In March, Neil Ferguson of Imperial College predicted that, if nothing is done, Covid could kill half a million in the UK and 2.2 million in the US. This implies several hundred thousand dead in Canada. Panicked politicians responded quickly, imposing economically catastrophic lockdowns.
At the time, there was little scrutiny of Ferguson’s track record. Yet a 2002 Guardian article emerged of Dr. Ferguson predicting up to 150,000 deaths from CJD (“Mad Cow Disease”) — 55 times the actual death toll of 2,704. Then in a 2005 Guardian article, Dr. Ferguson predicted that Bird Flu could kill up to “200 million” people. The actual death toll: 455.
Dr. Ferguson doubtless does his best, and both predictions carried lower statistical bounds that were predictably ignored by the media. But with emergency rooms across Canada turning off the lights for lack of patients, far from the hundreds of thousands of Covid patients predicted, it may be time to ask if we have overreacted.