Katy Balls talks to Sunetra Gupta, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology at the University of Oxford. An expert in the fight against infectious diseases, she is the lead scientist behind the Oxford study that disputed Imperial College’s dire coronavirus predictions. She is also a novelist and translator. On the podcast, she talks to Katy about her writing and how it was inspired by her intellectual father; her dispute with the mentor of Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson; and how she has found being in the public eye.
What is fascinating for me is the regularity with which senior people are demonstrating how hard it is to keep lockdown. This instance is of course particularly satisfying because Ferguson is the global proponent of lockdown and because this particular embarrassment demonstrates how invasive these restrictions are.
Also it has a wonderfully British flavour about it… both the outrage and the immediate resignation
And as well as asking this, he provides a nice analysis. “…right in spirit, wrong on numbers” is something that I’ve tried to account for in my model of good epidemiological prediction. In no other field of knowledge besides forecasting do we so easily accept accuracy to indicate knowledge. In no other field do we suffer so severely from a lack of tools to distinguish knowledge from lucky guess. Now we are seeing that I think.
Swedish expert: why lockdown is the wrong policy: https://unherd.com/podcasts/swedish-expert-why-lockdowns-are-the-wrong-policy/
Imperial’s Neil Ferguson defends lockdown strategy: https://unherd.com/podcasts/imperials-neil-ferguson-defends-lockdown-strategy/
Was pointed to this interesting website by Jason Mitchell – seems great.