Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin is standing firm on comments he made in a press release citing “a flawed model” and “inaccurate predictions” on the covid death forecasts.
Mr Martin has been asked by Imperial College to correct a press release in which it said that:
“….the Imperial College model forecast around 88,000 fatalities for Sweden if it did not lock down, but the outcome has been less than 10% of that number.”
Imperial College deny that their model created these inaccurate predictions.
However, Wetherspoon points out that Viscount Ridley, in the House of Lords, said:
“Uppsala University took the Imperial College model…. and adapted it to Sweden and forecasted 90,000 deaths by the end of May (in Sweden) if there was no lockdown and 40,000 if a full lockdown was imposed”.
Uppsala University itself said:
“We employed an individual agent-based model based on work by (Neil) Ferguson et al” of Imperial College.
Paul Franks, an academic from Lund University in Sweden, told Swedish Radio that “the Imperial College simulation” would give rise to about 85,000 deaths in Sweden and “if you intervene very aggressively”, by introducing a lockdown, about 40,000 deaths.
Philip Magness, senior research fellow at the American Institute of Economic Research, said that the “Imperial College model, applied to Sweden, yields preposterous results”.
Professor Johan Giesecke, adviser to the World Health Organisation, has said that the Imperial College research is deeply flawed since it wasn’t published “which is normal scientific behaviour”, it wasn’t peer-reviewed, “which is also normal” and that it greatly underestimated “the proportion of very mild cases”.
Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoon said:
“ Rarely can any advice to governments have been as inaccurate as that of Neil Ferguson, Imperial College and SAGE.
“The flawed Imperial College model has been dismissed by scientists, academics and doctors throughout the world.
“The fact that Imperial has contacted Wetherspoon to ask for a correction illustrates the unreal world in which they operate.
“The great tragedy is that the UK government, which lacks anyone with experience of running a business, is in thrall to these inaccurate predictions.
“No country is immune to the virus, but Sweden is achieving better health outcomes than the UK by adhering to scientifically proven social distancing and hygiene policies, while avoiding the lockdowns which have already resulted in 800,000 job losses in the UK, with many more to come this winter.
“Many studies have shown that lockdowns are counterproductive.
“As David Nabarro of the World Health Organisation has recently said: “ We appeal to all world leaders to stop using lockdowns as your primary method of control.”
“As someone running a business, I, and others doing similar jobs, am used to the offer of expert advice from very highly qualified people.
“Some of the advice is very good, but it’s often terrible. Unfortunately, the government appears unable to tell the difference – and it has chosen to follow the advice of those who have the least credible record.
“As the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett, has said, forecasts tell you a lot about the forecaster, but nothing about the future”.