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LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The scientist whose doomsday models may have bamboozled bishops into closing churches and forced the world into an economy-wrecking lockdown broke his own quarantine rules to shack up with his married lover.
Professor Neil Ferguson, who predicted the death of 500,000 Britons if a lockdown wasn't enforced, resigned on Tuesday as scientific advisor from Britain's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) after admitting an "error of judgment."
Nicknamed "Professor Lockdown" for his key role in persuading the governments of Britain, as well as France, Germany and the United States to impose quarantine and shut down public establishments, including churches, the 52-year-old Imperial College academic asked his mistress, Antonia Staats, 38, to travel across London to his home at least twice for a lover's tryst.
On March 30, Staats, who lives with her husband Chris and their two children in a £1.9 million house in south London, shamelessly flouted her adulterous partner's lockdown rules and traveled across the capital to visit Ferguson.
The left-wing campaigner, who claims to be in an "open relationship" with her husband, paid her lover a second visit on April 8 despite telling friends she suspected her husband, an academic in his 30s, had symptoms of the Wuhan virus, according to The Telegraph.
Earlier, on March 16, the Imperial College team headed by Ferguson, an epidemiologist and professor of mathematical biology, published "Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand." It is widely regarded as the most influential paper in shaping most countries' policy responses to the Wuhan virus crisis. Most nations except Sweden followed the guidelines Ferguson advocated.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols ordered the closure of churches a week later, in a statement on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).
Leading Italian Catholic epidemiologist Professor Paolo Gulisano told Church Militant that Premier Giuseppe Conte's Scientific Technical Committee, which convinced the Vatican and Italian bishops into closing churches, would "surely have had as the reference point of their strategy an expert like Ferguson."
"The Vatican seems to have no doubt about this strategy, unfortunately," Dr. Gulisano, former professor of History of Medicine at the University of Milan-Bicocca, added.
"It would have been better for the bishops to have given their faith and their allegiance to God than to the unreliable scientist with a far-left political preference," theologian Gavin Ashenden told Church Militant, noting that "Church leaders bent over backwards to close churches as we were assured that government policy was being driven by scientific advice."
"It turns out now that not only was the science not pure science but that it was being produced by the same progressive utopianism that has driven the whole of the anti-Christian agenda. We now know Ms. Staats is a hard-left social agitator," Dr. Ashenden stressed.
"Professor Ferguson's personal morality or lack of it, does not matter as much as his commitment to the progressive politics that bound him and his lefty lover even closer than sex," the former Queen's chaplain explained.
In their eagerness to close churches, the hierarchy appears to have colluded with the same activism that has been attacking Christian morals for decades. Behind the supposedly hard science of the government advisor lay an apocalyptically minded socialist utopian, as happy to break his own rules as he was to enforce unnecessary statist social compliance on a public that should have been more suspicious of both his morals and his politics.
Speaking to Church Militant, Damian Thompson, associate editor of The Spectator, remarked that "the authority of the bishops of England and Wales has been spectacularly damaged by their response to the COVID crisis."
"We don't know the extent to which CBCEW officials lobbied for the unnecessary closure of churches for private prayer. But some bishops closed places of worship with a determination verging on relish," he said. "Others, meanwhile, are not part of the bishops' conference inner circle and were neither consulted nor happy about the decision."
Thompson, presenter of the Holy Smoke religion podcast, continued, "What I find most disturbing is that priests who want to speak out against the total lockdown of churches are being muzzled by the more control-freak bishops."
"Ordinary Catholics no longer care what the bishop-bureaucrats say about anything," he added. "This makes the latter all the more determined to exercise control over the only people they can influence — their priests. In some cases, the messages received by priests who might rock the boat are quite menacing."
"It remains to be seen how the breakdown in trust between bishops and priests will play out when the money runs out and the episcopal machinery collapses, as it certainly will," he warned.
In April, Church Militant reported the role of Catholic LGBT activist and government employee Professor Jim McManus, as an intermediary between the bishops and the government in negotiating the closure of churches.
Church Militant contacted McManus asking how the Imperial College study may have led to his recommendation to the CBCEW to close churches for public worship, also asking why Sweden has not seen a rise in infections despite not going into full lockdown, as recommended by Ferguson. No response was received as of press time.
According to Ferguson's models, unlocked-down Sweden should have had 40,000 deaths by now — but has only around 2,850 — a catastrophic level of error.
Ferguson's "hypocrisy is staggering. But it's his scaremongering we should hold him to account for," writes Brendan O'Neill, editor of Spiked, noting that the "speed with which Ferguson's models — mere models ... were transformed into a kind of biblical writ, a revelation of doom, was extraordinary."
"Ferguson's figures, his graphs and models, his worst-case scenarios, were the godly pronouncements upon which this historic disruption of society was based," O'Neill observes, elaborating on previous "errors of judgment" made by the expert who has been scientific adviser to the U.K. government for 20 years.
In 2001, Ferguson advised widespread pre-emptive culling to halt the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, costing £10 billion and leading to the slaughter of over 6 million cattle, sheep and pigs. However, in 2011, a report said his models made a "serious error" by "ignoring the species composition of farms."
In 2005, Ferguson warned up to 200 million people could die from bird flu, but the global death toll between 2003 and 2009 was 292.
In 2009, Ferguson's "reasonable worst-case scenario" modeling predicted the deaths of 65,000 people in the United Kingdom — 457 people died.
The expert also predicted that up to 50,000 people could die from "mad cow disease," but the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) killed just 177.
"If the man known as Professor Lockdown doesn't adhere to the lockdown, why on Earth should anyone else take it seriously?" O'Neill asked.