Coronavirus FURY: Neil Ferguson plagued with hate mail as Britons fume over Covid lockdown | UK | News (Reports)


The epidemiologist said he found himself in a “difficult” situation in March and early April. Speaking to BBC Newsnight, he said “some people like to have bogeymen to blame for things”.

Prof Ferguson led the team at Imperial College London which produced the computer-modelled research that led to the national lockdown.

Modelling of the virus’s transmission suggested 250,000 people could die unless strict action was taken.

The Prime Minister announced on March 23 the measures designed to stop the spread of the virus.

Prof Ferguson told presenter Emily Maitlis: “As a scientist who has been quite prominent at times in the epidemic for me and people like me it has been, at times, very difficult.

“Some people like to have bogeymen to blame for things and if you’re one of those people it’s an uncomfortable situation to be in.

“Back in March and early April it was really quite difficult at times in terms of the hate mail and everything else, paradoxically got somewhat easier from May onwards.”

He added that fellow scientists across the world had struggled with similar issues.

He said: “Christian Drosten, a friend of mine in Germany has found the same there, many US colleagues have found the same.

READ MORE: January lockdown unlikely to be ‘needed’ says expert

Prof Ferguson also said he does not think the UK will need to go into lockdown in January despite a relaxation of restrictions over Christmas.

BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis asked: “You don’t think we will go into lockdown again in January as a result of the Christmas relaxation?”

Prof Ferguson replied: “I think it very much depends on how rigorously we actually use the tier system to respond to fluctuations in case numbers.

“The problem really in October was we delayed responding to obviously exponentially increasing cases and that means that you have to overreact in some sense when you finally do respond.

“As long as we’re timely in responding to any upsurges of cases we see in individual areas, then no, I don’t think we’ll need to go into lockdown again.”

General Sir Gordon Messenger is head of operations for the coronavirus testing programme.

He has said mass community testing for areas of England with the toughest coronavirus restrictions may not be possible “all at once”.

Some Tier 3 areas could have to wait until “January and beyond”.

He told a Downing Street press conference that capabilities will “sequence over time”, adding this will be into “January and beyond”.


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