'Professor Lockdown' Sorry for 'Error in Judgment'

Top scientist was visited by married lover
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2020 6:21 PM CDT
'Professor Lockdown' Sorry for 'Error in Judgment'
Professor Neil Ferguson.   (YouTube)

The professor whose advice to Britain's prime minister led to the country's lockdown has apologized for an "error in judgment." According to the Telegraph, leading epidemiologist Neil Ferguson—nicknamed "Professor Lockdown"—flouted social distancing guidelines by allowing his "married lover" to visit him at home. The woman, Antonia Staats, lives with her husband and children in another London home, and government policy urges citizens not to mix with people from different households. Ferguson says he has resigned as a government adviser and he deeply regrets "any undermining of the clear messages around the continued need for social distancing to control this devastating epidemic," the BBC reports.

"I acted in the belief that I was immune, having tested positive for coronavirus, and completely isolated myself for almost two weeks after developing symptoms," Ferguson said Tuesday. He said he knows allowing Staats to visit was "the wrong course of action." "The government guidance is unequivocal, and is there to protect all of us," the professor said. Staats—who has an "open marriage," according to the Telegraph—crossed London to visit Ferguson at least twice. The Guardian reports that as a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, Ferguson presented models that convinced authorities to introduce strict lockdown measures. He recently warned that lifting the lockdown too early could cost 100,000 lives. (Britain now has the highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe.)

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