Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who gained international attention for creating the highly-cited Imperial College London Wuhan virus model which The New York Times has referenced and has played a major role in influencing governments worldwide, put forward a significantly downgraded projection of the expected death toll on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
According to Ferguson’s original model, 2.2 million people were expected to die in the United States and 500,000 in the United Kingdom from the Wuhan Virus if no action was taken to slow the spread of the virus and soften the curve. The model estimated significantly fewer deaths if lockdown measures were implemented.
Following one day of mandatory lockdowns in the U.K., Ferguson is now putting forward downgraded estimates. He credited the lockdown policies, but also revealed that far more people have contracted the virus than his team expected.
Ferguson clarified, “I should admit, we’ve always been sensitive in the analysis in the modeling to a variety of levels or values to those quantities. What we’ve been seeing, though, in Europe in the last week or two is a rate of growth of the epidemic which was faster than we expected from early data in China. And so we are revising our quotes, our central best estimate of the reproduction… something more, a little bit above of the order of three or a little bit above rather than about 2.5.” He added, “the current values are still within the wide range of values which modeling groups [unintelligible] we should have been looking at previously.”
A higher rate of transmission than expected signifies that more people have contracted the virus than previously estimated. When the number of individuals with the Wuhan Virus is divided by the number of deaths, the mortality rate for the virus falls.
According to a report from the New Scientist on March 25, 2020, 20,000 people or fewer will die from the Wuhan virus based on the new lockdown procedures and the new projections. Hospitals are also expected to be able to take in Wuhan Virus patients without problems.
Ferguson’s modifications came days following Oxford epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta critique of the professor’s model.
“I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,” Gupta declared, according to the Financial Times.
Professor Gupta was in charge of a team of researchers at Oxford in a modeling study which hints at the virus being invisibly spread for at least a month earlier than expected. The study concluded that up to half of the people in the United Kingdom have already contracted the Wuhan Virus.
If Gupta’s model is accurate, fewer than one in a thousand who’ve contracted the Wuhan Virus become sick enough require hospitalization, which leaves the overwhelming majority with mild cases or free of symptoms of the virus.
Ferguson made a statement on social media on Thursday to “clear up confusion” about his modified estimates:
I think it would be helpful if I cleared up some confusion that has emerged in recent days. Some have interpreted my evidence to a UK parliamentary committee as indicating we have substantially revised our assessments of the potential mortality impact of COVID-19. This is not the case. Indeed, if anything, our latest estimates suggest that the virus is slightly more transmissible than we previously thought. Our lethality estimates remain unchanged. My 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).
1/4 – I think it would be helpful if I cleared up some confusion that has emerged in recent days. Some have interpreted my evidence to a UK parliamentary committee as indicating we have substantially revised our assessments of the potential mortality impact of COVID-19.
— neil_ferguson (@neil_ferguson) March 26, 2020
Southern Baptist Convention Reverses Course on Name Change After BLP Reporting
They say they’re not changing their name.
The Southern Baptist Convention has sought to dispel reporting from Big League Politics on the organization’s planned name change, arguing that the institution isn’t formally changing its name.
To correct multiple inaccurate reports, “We Are Great Commission Baptists” is the 2021 Annual Meeting THEME.
The GCB descriptor was approved in 2012 for churches to use if it would be helpful in their local context.
The Southern Baptist Convention remains our official name.
— SBC Executive Committee (@SBCExecComm) September 17, 2020
But a close look at the American Christian church’s plans relating to its name reveal that it’s played with the idea far more seriously than they’re making it seem.
Reports of a name change first emerged in a Washington Post article published on Tuesday. SBC President JD Greear told the Post that “hundreds of churches” affiliated with the denomination had “committed” to using the phrase “Great Commission Baptist” as an alternative to the denomination’s longtime moniker. The change would come as Greear touts his support of the Black Lives Matter, although he’s been careful in pointing out he doesn’t support any formal organization related to the movement. Greear also is renaming the church he personally pastors with the term.
The SBC’s 2021 convention will also organize under the motto of “We Are Great Commission Baptists.” Sounds a lot like a name change, even if the SBC’s leadership is steadfastly maintaining it isn’t.
The name ‘Great Commission Baptist’ is theologically sound in the Christian religion, but it’s somewhat questionable that the organization’s leader appears to be emphasizing it at a moment in which political correctness is making its entryism into many Christian churches and organizations.
It seems as if the organization’s figurehead is keen to present himself as a liberal-style suburban Evangelical to the Washington Post, but he changed his tune quite quickly when the rank and file membership of Southern Baptist churches learned that he was promoting the idea of a name change.
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