The contrast between the evidence sessions of Prof. John Edmunds (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, SAGE modeller) and Prof. Carl Heneghan at the Covid Inquiry yesterday was absolutely shocking and raises huge questions about the professionalism of the Inquiry.
The King’s Counsel in the morning spent hours questioning Edmunds in a friendly, at times obsequious manner, as he explained how misunderstood the modelling was, how it wasn’t needed to justify lockdowns – as the indicative Basic reproduction number (R0) and Indicative Fatality Rate (IFR) were enough – to justify earlier and harder lockdown measures. Yet, according to Edmunds, the modelling would still be needed in the future. Truly an “all things to all men modelling” – useful when needed to justify future lockdowns, yet hides in the corner when retrospectively scrutinised and compared with real-world data. Three key flaws in the Covid modelling have been highlighted:
- Over-estimation of the effect of mandatory NPIs versus under-estimation of the effect of voluntary NPIs.
- Over-estimation of ICU per hospitalised rates, where the Imperial College team doubled the rate of hospitalised patients going into ICU to 30% based on flawed data from China.
- Failure to take into account the impact of prior and innate immunity in the population, especially children and the asymptomatic.