Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London previously presented a model of the potential number of deaths from COVID-19 as 2.2 million in the U.S. and 500,000 in the U.K. This model has been extremely influential among government officials and used as the basis of the shutdowns crippling our economy. He has now presented new estimates based on a revised model that dramatically reduces those numbers. Instead of 500,000 in the U.K., he now estimates something under 20,000!
He now says both that the U.K. should have enough ICU beds and that the coronavirus will probably kill under 20,000 people in the U.K. — more than 1/2 of whom would have died by the end of the year in any case [because] they were so old and sick (emphasis added)
Essentially, what has happened is that estimates of the viruses transmissibility have increased — which implies that many more people have already gotten it than we realize — which in turn implies it is less dangerous.
If the same ratio holds for the U.S., then the number here might be 90,000 to 100,000 deaths, which is certainly serious, but we sometimes have bad years for the seasonal flu with numbers over 60,000. If that’s the case, the massive stay at home orders from many politicians applied across areas with very low numbers of cases, like here in Erie County, are no longer justified.
Prioritize the response, focus on the hotspots, isolate the already infected, practice sensible personal hygiene, stay home if you’re sick and let’s get everyone else back to work, ASAP!