Comment: Do as we say, not as we do!

antonia staats neil ferguson
Professor Neil Ferguson, author of apocalyptic coronavirus models, has resigned from his position as adviser to 10 Downing Street after revelations that he violated quarantine himself to meet with a married lover.

Following Ferguson's resignation on Tuesday night, the Daily Telegraph made it public that the man known as 'Professor Lockdown' had allowed a married mother with whom he was having an affair to visit him at least twice during the quarantine. The woman was identified as Antonia Staats, 38.

The first visit was reportedly on March 30, as Ferguson warned the British public that lockdown measures - in effect for a week at that time - would have to remain in place until June. Her second visit was on April 8.

"I accept I made an error of judgment and took the wrong course of action," Ferguson told the Telegraph, confirming that he has resigned from the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). He maintained the need for the continued lockdown, however.

"I deeply regret any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic. The government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us," he said.

Comment: It's more likely that he regrets getting caught.

Ferguson's team at Imperial College London is behind the computer model that predicted more than half a million Britons would die from the virus unless the country was locked down, a view which eventually prevailed over the 'herd immunity' approach initially floated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

With Johnson himself contracting the virus and being sidelined for weeks, the government has continued to follow Ferguson's recommendations, repeating the mantra "Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives" for seven weeks now.

The UK has just crossed the threshold of 30,000 deaths attributed to the coronavirus, outpacing the previously hardest-hit European countries such as Italy and Spain.

More than 9,000 people in England and Wales have been fined for breaches of the lockdown over the past seven weeks - one every five minutes, according to the Telegraph - while a senior Scottish medical official had to resign after being caught visiting her second home in defiance of government orders.

Following Ferguson's prescriptions, the UK government allows people to leave their homes only for daily exercise, essential food shopping, medical emergencies, and specific kinds of work.

The professor's prior claim to fame was the 1990s model predicting up to 50,000 deaths from the human form of bovine foot-and-mouth disease, which led to a mass culling of animals in 2001, wrecking the British food industry and inflicting an estimated £10 billion loss to the economy.