#school of public health

Responding to the Pandemic Modeling

Ratna Megawangi’s article, “Coronavirus and Panic Statistics” (Kompas, 20/6/2020), is interesting to discuss. The article comments on the prediction of the spread of the coronavirus by mathematical modeling, as widely presented by experts.   In particular, Ratna reviewed predictions made by Dr. Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, an epidemiologist who from the start was keen to suggest that a lockdown be implemented in England. With the mathematical modeling he made, in mid-March Ferguson predicted the death toll due to the coronavirus in the UK would reach 510,000 people if no lockdown was tightly applied. This prediction is what makes many parties panic. According to Ratna, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who initially believed in the herd immunity scenario, eventually shifted to trusting Ferguson to apply the regional quarantine alias total lockdown. And, the fact was that, as of Wednesday (24/6/2020), Worldometer data recorded the number of positive cases in the UK at 306,210, of whom 42,927 had died. It is very low compared to the 510,000 infections according to Ferguson’s prediction if the lockdown was not implemented.