British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, whose coronavirus predictions helped form Britain’s strategy in fighting the pandemic, has resigned his position as an adviser to the U.K. government after violating his own social distancing rules in order to have sex with a married woman.
Ferguson had 38-year-old married woman Antonia Staats travel across the country on multiple occasions, according a report published Tuesday by The Telegraph. Ferguson, who lead the team Imperial College that produced the model that “led to the lockdown,” apologized for his “error of judgement” in a statement to The Telegraph. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Jan.21: Fauci Says Coronavirus ‘Not A Major Threat’ To U.S.)
“I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic,” Ferguson told the outlet.
Professor Neil Ferguson resigns from government advisory group SAGE after Telegraph reveals he broke lockdown rules to meet his married loverhttps://t.co/qIaHFvnvdh
— Anna Mikhailova (@AVMikhailova) May 5, 2020
The Imperial College’s coronavirus model is reported to have framed the U.K.’s response to the virus. The model predicted that over two million Americans, and 500,000 people in the U.K. would die of the virus unless strict social distancing measures were enacted.
Soon after the U.K. shut down, Ferguson dramatically revised his projected death toll in the country to 20,000. The U.K. currently has the highest death toll in Europe at roughly 30,000, according to Worldometer.
The Imperial College also wrongly predicted that death tolls in Sweden would reach 40,000 deaths by May 1 if the country refused to lock down. The current death toll in Sweden stands at under 3,000. (RELATED: Sweden Is Reaping The Benefits After Defying Conventional Coronavirus Wisdom)
As detailed in The Telegraph, Ferguson has a long history of forecasting doomsday scenarios whenever an infectious disease begins to spread. In 2005, Ferguson predicted that as many as 200 million people could die form the bird flu, but only a few hundred people died worldwide. A few years later, Ferguson returned with another worst-case scenario projection, predicting that 65,000 people in the U.K. could perish from the swine flu. The country’s death toll ended up being 457.