Initial Predictions vs Reported Fatalities

The predictions for infections, hospitalizations and deaths resulting from COVID were compiled in a report[1] from Imperial College (IC) led by Neil Ferguson. The report, issued in mid-March 2020 predicted that absent any controls the following would occur: 510,000 deaths in Great Britain and 2.2 million in the U.S.[2] In the appendix, issued days later, the report listed its predictions for other countries as well. Here are some of the most optimistic scenarios if no COVID restrictions were implemented: Canada - 226,000, Israel - 40,000, Japan - 1 million and Sweden - 66,000[3]. The numbers were reported in the press in the U.S.,[4] U.K.,[5] Canada,[6] Israel,[7] and Sweden.[8]

The predictions of the IC report had a major influence on how countries decided to deal with the emerging pandemic.[9] Backed by an intensive social media campaign from China[10][11] along with the newly formed “scientific consensus” based on the IC’s models and predictions, governments all over the world decided to implement restrictions on human interaction and imposed lockdowns. 

The virus, even 7 months after the March 2020 predictions were made, turned out to be far less deadly than predicted. Canada had reported 9,600 deaths vs 226,000 predicted. The UK would see 42,000 reported deaths vs 510,000 predicted. The USA would see 220,000 reported deaths vs 2.2 million predicted. Israel saw 1,800 reported deaths vs 35,000 predicted. These dire predictions assumed that no lockdowns would take place. Lockdown advocates claim that the lockdowns are what saved all those lives (the difference between the actual and the predicted). This might be a reasonable claim if there wasn't a control group (a country that did not lockdown). But there was - Sweden.

Sweden was the only Western country not to lockdown in those initial 7 months. It was predicted that Sweden would suffer a minimum of 66,000 deaths by June, when in fact they experienced only 5,900 by September. Here, in the only control group to test the validity of the model, we see it overestimated the deaths by more than 1,000%. In June, Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College admitted that Sweden achieved similar results to the UK without imposing a lockdown.[12]


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[4]: Think of the number — potentially 2.2 million people if we did nothing”

[9]: The UK's plan has shifted because the scientific modeling showed we were on course for a "catastrophic epidemic"

[10]: “How China unleashed Twitter bots to spread COVID-19 propaganda in Italy”