Professor Pantsdown/Lockdown Predicts New Corona Wave When School Starts

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 23: A woman takes a photo of graffiti on Brick Lane in East London on April 23, 2020 in London, England. The British government has extended the lockdown restrictions first introduced on March 23 that are meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by …
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Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson had predicted there could be a “large wave of infection” once children go back to school and white-collar workers return to their offices this Autumn, in the latest doom scenario offered by one of the architects of Britain’s lockdown policies.

Professor Ferguson — who was forced to resign his government advisory position in May 2020 after breaking his own lockdown rules to meet with his married lover, yet soon returned to work for the Johnson administration — predicted that by the autumn, “in the worst-case scenario we could be getting to well over 1,000 admissions a day, which does stress the health system.”

“We’ll be reopening schools, people will be going back to offices. So we will still have the potential of quite a large wave of infections in October,” Ferguson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, per The Times.

Earlier this month, Ferguson, who acquired the nickname in the media as ‘Professor Lockdown’ for his doom and gloom predictions and ‘Professor Pantsdown’ for his lockdown-busting trysts, was forced to admit that his earlier prediction of a summer wave of the Chinese coronavirus had been “off”. He had added that the era of lockdowns in the UK is likely over, but that he “wouldn’t rule it out altogether”.

The epidemiologist said on Monday that he did not believe a lockdown would be the result of a future wave, saying: “What we’ll stop this with is the acquisition of immunity in the population. That’s the point where we start living with Covid, it becomes an endemic disease.”

“Vaccination is having downward pressure on transmission. To some extent we have this immunity. Whether it’s going to be enough to stop transmission … I think we still could see quite substantial transmission in the autumn coming up to the winter, but predicting that is very difficult,” he said.

Ferguson’s predictions that there might not be another lockdown should be a relief to many. But British lawmakers have been warning that a rise in infection as the colder weather approaches, which benefits respiratory diseases, could be used by the government as an excuse to bring back restrictions after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “irreversible” Freedom Day.

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said in July that the government would be under “enormous” pressure to reintroduce restrictions in Autumn.

Deputy chairman of the lockdown-sceptic Covid Recovery Group (CRG), Steve Baker, had warned the government against locking down again in Autumn after the government confirmed in July that it would be reviewing its coronavirus response next month, including “whether to continue or strengthen public business guidance”.

The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE), which advises the government on its pandemic strategies, had already noted in April that “stronger measures may be desirable for autumn and winter”.

Sources speaking to the media earlier this month also disclosed that Prime Minister Johnson had authorised the planning of “firebreaks” — short lockdowns — should the National Health Service (NHS) become overwhelmed in the colder months.

Remarking on the likelihood of a full return to normal, author and journalist Peter Hitchens predicted that the UK could still be debating lockdowns in a year, after the country has already been under some form of restrictions since March 2020.

“Here we are, it’s 17, 18 months of all this stuff going on, and any sense that we’re going to get out of it seems to me to be increasingly hard to believe. You think this is going to be temporary? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we’re still discussing travel restrictions, masks, all the rest of it, next year,” Mr Hitchens said.

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