Neil Ferguson: Anderson's Apprentice

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Over the past two decades, no one has made as many false predictions on potential pandemic numbers as Neil Ferguson. Ferguson obtained his Master of Arts degree in Physics in 1990 at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and would go on to study for his PhD in theoretical physics in 1994 at Linacre College, Oxford, where Roy Anderson was the Linacre Professor of Zoology at the time and who would soon become Ferguson's teacher and mentor. It was also at Oxford where Ferguson attended a lecture by Sir Robert May on modelling the HIV epidemic. At that time, Ferguson reportedly became interested in the mathematical modelling of infectious diseases. It appears that, from that moment on, Ferguson would work closely with Roy Anderson.

 

Ferguson would move with Roy Anderson's group of infectious disease scientists from the University of Oxford to Imperial College in 2000. He would also shift his research focus to FMD a few months before the crisis began, placing him in a prime position to immediately start working on modelling the FMD outbreak as it began. During the epidemic, Ferguson's unvalidated predictive models had successfully manufactured the consent needed to allow the Government to enact their brutal culling policy. Approximately ten million animals would be culled and burnt on pyres all around the UK, with the size and scale of the cull causing serious public concern. As a 2006 paper which is entitled, “Use and abuse of mathematical models: an illustration from the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in the United Kingdom” which was produced by a team at Edinburgh University states, the experience “should have been a warning of how models can be abused in the interests of scientific opportunism”. That paper, headed by one of the other governments scientific advisors during the start of the FMD crisis, the aforementioned Dr. Kitching, would include in its conclusion that: “Modelling should only be countenanced if veterinarians and scientists agree that the design of the model and the information used to generate its results are correct (and plausible, from the known biology of the disease). Otherwise, models: ‘become exercises in mathematical sophistry’. Ferguson's models had wreaked havoc on the lives of millions of British farmers, yet, the following year, Neil Ferguson would be honoured by the Queen with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) awarded to him for his services during the FMD crisis.

 

The ashes of the millions of slaughtered animals had barely settled before Neil Ferguson would warn that sheep may have contracted BSE and that the disease could kill tens-of-thousands of people. He would soon after produce a model of this new, potential BSE outbreak, which he claimed was just around the corner. Ferguson predicted that BSE could kill up to 150,000 people. The disease was only actually responsible for an approximate 178 deaths. In that paper, again written alongside Roy Anderson and Christl Donnelly, the authors state: “we estimate the 95% confidence interval for future vCJD mortality to be 50 to 50,000 human deaths considering exposure to bovine BSE alone, with the upper bound increasing to 150,000 once we include exposure from the worst-case ovine (sheep) BSE scenario examined.” Ferguson's inability to accurately predict anything correctly didn't stop him from continuing to make further predictions. In 2005, Ferguson would predict that deaths from Bird Flu worldwide would reach up to 200 million people, with the WHO eventually identifying a total of 455 deaths as probably attributable to Bird Flu. During the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic in the UK, Ferguson would predict 65,000 deaths, whilst the actual number of deaths due to the disease was around 283.

 

In 2006, Ferguson began talking about the need to create vaccines quickly so as to respond effectively to a pandemic he claimed was emerging with Bird Flu, stating to the press that even a border closure that is 99.9% effective would only slow the pandemic by a few weeks at the most. “That doesn’t buy you much time to make [a] vaccine,” Ferguson said, going on to clarify, “And that is what matters. The model shows that if you could start giving people a vaccine based on the exact pandemic strain 30 days after it emerges, hitting 1% of the population a day – the maximum vaccine production rate – you might cut the number of cases by 97%.” Of course, Neil Ferguson was wrong again, but his eagerness to predict mass death did not end there. Ferguson's claims of an imminent Bird Flu pandemic would also see the House of Lords recommend “passive immunisation” if bird flu reached the UK.

 

On 22 January 2020, Neil Ferguson would be involved in the first meeting of SAGE (the UK's Scientific Advisory Group), the minutes of the meeting wouldn't be released until 29 May 2020 and were entitled simply “Coronavirus (COVID-19) response”. Also appointed to the advisory group was Wellcome Trust director Jeremy Farrar. The SAGE group was chaired by the former-President of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Patrick Vallance, who had left the global pharmaceutical giant in 2018 to become the United Kingdom's chief scientific advisor. SAGE had originally been set-up by Sir Robert May (the man who's presentation had inspired Ferguson's carrer path) over a decade prior, with their first meeting being recorded in 2009 in response to a potential Flu pandemic that never materialized and which Neil Ferguson's models falsely predicted would cause mass global casualties.

 

Ferguson would soon present his computer models which predicted half a million people would die of the Covid-19 virus in the UK alone. This large mortality number would have made the Covid-19 pandemic one of the worst viruses in time immemorial. The fear and panic induced by his false prophetic vision would help manufacture consent for one of the most severe and restrictive of pandemic responses in history. Of course, the history books will also record that Neil Ferguson's Covid-19 modeling was not the only thing to cause concern. Ferguson would be caught having an affair during Covid-19 whilst he was meant to be strictly observing the nationwide lockdown which his models had forced on the rest of the country. On 5 May 2020, the UK Guardian newspaper would report that Ferguson “resigns from SAGE after admitting ‘error of judgment’”.

 

Ferguson had become Roy Anderson's shadow throughout large parts of his career, but he hasn't been Roy Anderson's only close friend, colleague and collaborator. One of Roy Anderson's other right hand men is a man who, although hasn't played a part in Covid-19 yet, has played many previous post-crisis roles during the state run cover-ups of publicly revealed state crimes, including helping to play down and hide the true extent of the UK Ministry of Defence's testing biological and chemical agents on their own population illegally, which is obviously very relevant to our current situation.

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