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Posted by: TEEBONE ®

05/19/2020, 12:46:48

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Decisive COVID model the 'most devastating software mistake of all time' - WND

WND Staff
6-8 minutes

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks Thursday, May 14, 2020, at Owens & Minor Inc. Distribution Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

The coronavirus death-forecast model that apparently convinced President Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to shift to a policy featuring unprecedented lockdowns of the healthy "could go down in history as the most devastating software mistake of all time, in terms of economic costs and lives lost."

That's according to two software company executives writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper of London.

David Richards, CEO of the British-American software firm WANdisco, and Konstantin Boudnik, the company's vice president of open source development, were referring to the Imperial College of London report March 16 forecasting 2.2 million deaths in the United States and 500,000 in Britain from the coronavirus.

However, just 10 days later, the lead author of the report, Neil Ferguson, told a drastically different story when he testified under oath to a British parliamentary committee.

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Ferguson said the U.K. death toll was unlikely to exceed 20,000 and could be much lower.

"Since publication of Imperial’s microsimulation model, those of us with a professional and personal interest in software development have studied the code on which policymakers based their fateful decision to mothball our multi-trillion pound economy and plunge millions of people into poverty and hardship," Richards and Boudnik wrote.

Imperial College of London professor Neil Ferguson

"And we were profoundly disturbed at what we discovered."

Do you trust the coronavirus models being proffered by government officials?

They found the model "to be totally unreliable."

The authors noted that when other scientists tried to replicate the findings using the same model, they failed.

The software engineers described the model as a "buggy mess that looks more like a bowl of angel hair pasta than a finely tuned piece of programming."

"In our commercial reality we would fire anyone for developing code like this and any business that relied on it to produce software for sale would likely go bust."

It wasn't the first time for Ferguson.

The Express of London noted earlier this month that his models in the fight against the swine flu a decade ago also were way off. He predicted 65,000 people in the U.K. would die. But only 457 succumbed to the disease.

As WND reported March 26, Ferguson's coronavirus study was cited by the White House, Downing Street and other governments in their decisions to implement unprecedented "social distancing" measures.

On March 26, the day after Ferguson's testimony to a parliamentary committee, White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx mentioned the dramatic downgrade of his estimate.

She said the predictions of models also "don't match the reality on the ground in either China, South Korea or Italy."

"Models are models. There's enough data now of the real experience with the coronavirus on the ground, really, to make these predictions much more sound," said Birx.

"So when people start talking about 20% of a population getting infected, it's very scary," she said. "But we don't have data that matches that."

Ferguson clarifies

Ferguson issued a clarification later that day via Twitter, arguing his evidence to Parliament "referred to the deaths we assess might occur in the UK in the presence of the very intensive social distancing and other public health interventions now in place."

"Without those controls, our assessment remains that the UK would see the scale of deaths reported in our study (namely, up to approximately 500 thousand)," he wrote.

However, no one in the U.S. or the U.K. was advocating at the time that no measures be taken to control the spread of the virus, pointed out Powerline blogger Paul Mirengoff.

"Some degree of social distancing and complete isolation of the sick were almost universally viewed as appropriate and, indeed, necessary," he wrote.

"Yet, Ferguson's projection became part of the basis, not just for social distancing and isolation of the sick, but for imposing lockdown style measures in some jurisdictions."

And Ferguson acknowledged in an interview with the New York Times that a comprehensive lockdown is what he wanted.

"Based on our estimates and other teams', there's really no option but follow in China's footsteps and suppress," he said.

Mirengoff commented: "Perhaps this is why Ferguson waited so long to make it clear that, at least in the U.S., the Imperial College forecast that garnered so much attention from policy makers was a strawman."

In fact, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is managing the country's most severe outbreak, was questioning the comprehensive lockdown strategy at the time.

"We closed everything down. That was our public health strategy," Cuomo said March 26. "If you re-thought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don't know that you would say, 'Quarantine everyone.'"

On Wednesday, he said the shelter-in-place policy may be backfiring by confining vulnerable older people with younger family members.

"I don't even know that that was the best public health policy. Young people then quarantined with older people, [it] was probably not the best public health strategy," he said. "The younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection."

As WND reported May 5, Ferguson resigned his government position after breaking social-distancing rules to meet his lover, Antonia Staats, a married woman with children.

Neil Ferguson and Antonia Staats

He resigned from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, or SAGE, after admitting he made an "error of judgment."

"I accept I made an error of judgment and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in SAGE," Ferguson told the Daily Telegraph.

"I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms.

"I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic.

"The government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us."


Democrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.

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