Real estate mogul David Adelman hosts star-studded Wine Wednesday

Real estate mogul David Adelman hosted a Wine Wednesday virtual gathering for a VIP crowd, including NFL star Todd Gurley, Giants legend Tiki Barber, Pacers point guard T.J. McConnell and 76ers player Tobias Harris, as well as p.r. pro Ron Berkowitz, Kevin Durant’s manager Rich Kleiman and LeBron James’ business guru Maverick Carter.

Guests were all delivered the same wines from Napa vintner Bond to compare during the power powwow. Adelman posted: “These wine (and sometimes tequila) nights are keeping me sane during these times. Great night talking wine, sports, business and culture.”

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David Davis calls for shake up of government's lockdown strategy

David Davis demands shake-up of government’s ‘secret and potentially flawed lockdown calculations’ after shamed scientist Neil Ferguson is removed from all advisory positions for breaking lockdown rules by meeting his married lover

  • Former Brexit Secretary David Davis warns that Britain ‘can no longer run our strategy on secret advice’
  • It comes as Boris Johnson is set to ease lockdown from Monday, outlining what will happen this Sunday 
  • Prof Neil Ferguson, 51, warned UK could see 500,000 deaths if it didn’t implement mass self-isolation
  • His advice, through a report he helped produce at Imperial College, led to the PM bringing in the lockdown 
  • But since it started he allowed his married lover to travel across London to visit him at home at least twice 
  • Scotland Yard has said its officers ‘do not intend to take any further action’ for repeated lockdown breaches
  • Antonia Staats, 38, lives with her husband, in his 30s, and two children in a £1.9 million house in south London 
  • On March 31 she admitted lockdown was ‘challenge’ for her marriage and husband Chris may have had Covid 
  • The scientist has quit his role on the secretive SAGE committee – but Imperial College is standing by him 
  • Elon Musk leads US anger at ‘hypocritical’ British ‘Professor Lockdown’ over his rule-breaking trysts 
  • Do you know more about this story? Email [email protected] or [email protected]
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Former Brexit secretary David Davis has called for a shake up of the Government’s lockdown strategy during the coronavirus – spearheaded by Professor Neil Ferguson – which he claimed was based on ‘secret and potentially flawed calculations’.

The Conservative politician spoke out as shamed scientist Professor Ferguson was removed from all advisory positions after allowing his lover to visit him at his London home during the lockdown.

And it emerged the woman having an affair with Professor Ferguson had said the lockdown was putting a ‘strain’ on her open marriage as Health Secretary Matt Hancock today admitted the trysts had left him ‘speechless’. 

The news came one day before Ministers are officially due to review the measures tomorrow – although Prime Minister Boris Johnson today announced he is hoping to begin easing the lockdown from Monday. 

Professor Ferguson was branded an ‘arrogant hypocrite’ by critics today for ‘undermining’ the Government’s position and there was pressure for the police to fine him for ignoring the lockdown rules he helped create. 

But Scotland Yard said this afternoon that while his behaviour is ‘plainly disappointing’, officers ‘do not intend to take any further action’ after ‘he accepted that he made an error of judgement and has taken responsibility’.

And Mr Davis, 71, tweeted: ‘A bigger issue than Professor Ferguson’s private life is the accuracy of his model. When applied to the Swedish policy it forecast 40,000 deaths by now, over 15 times the reality.

‘We need the whole model, its assumptions and working in the public domain. We can no longer run our strategy on secret advice and potentially flawed calculations.’ 

Professor Ferguson will no longer advise the Government in any capacity, the PM’s spokesman said today, having quit the influential SAGE committee and the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group [NERVTAG]. His employer Imperial College London is standing by him – but it is not clear if he will lose the significant amounts of taxpayer-funded grants he receives for his research each year. 

Professor Ferguson, 51, had asked his mistress Antonia Staats, 38, to travel across London from her £1.9million home at least twice despite lecturing 66million in Britain on the need to stay apart to stop the spread of the killer virus and stop the NHS being overwhelmed with patients. 

In a podcast on March 31, 24 hours after her first visit to his central London flat, Ms Staats, who is said to have met her lover on online dating site OkCupid a year ago, said of the lockdown: ‘I think it’s also a strain on – maybe strained has sounded too negative – but it’s an interesting relationship challenge, for Chris [her husband] and my relationship.’ 

And despite seeing her lover across town as the pandemic approached its peak she admitted: ‘Chris has been not feeling great and thinks he got it. But we can’t know for sure’. Prof Ferguson is thought to have met Ms Staat’s husband Chris, who also has tightly cropped hair and glasses, and they learned they share an interest in data science, a friend said.

Matt Hancock said: ‘It’s just extraordinary. I don’t understand the decision [to ignore the lockdown]. I am speechless – and that doesn’t often happen to me. But I am. The social distancing rules are there for everyone. And they are incredibly important and deadly serious’. 

Speaking to Sky News today the Health Secretary hinted that the police should fine Professor Ferguson for breaking the lockdown laws. He said: ‘It’s a matter for the police.. but I think the social distancing rules are there for a reason. I back the police here. They will make the decisions independently – but I think he was right to resign’.

Neil Ferguson was nicknamed ‘Professor Lockdown’ when the crisis began because he convinced Boris Johnson to order millions to stay at home – with the Health Secretary admitting today that his advice, which included apocalyptic warnings of 500,000 UK deaths, had heavily influenced the Government’s policies. 

The shamed academic also predicted the United States faced 2.2million death without a lockdown and today Elon Musk branded him a ‘moron’ and a ‘tool’ and said he and other academics spooked the White House into initiating its own lockdown by peddling ‘fake science’.

Professor Neil Ferguson, 51, allowed his lover, Antonia Staats (main picture), to visit him at his home, despite the lockdown. Ms Staats, 38, who lives with her husband Chris Lucas (right) and their children in another house, went over to see the scientist at least twice during the lockdown

Former Brexit secretary David Davis has called for a shake up of the Government’s strategy during the coronavirus lockdown

Mr Davis claimed the Government’s lockdown strategy was based on ‘secret and potentially flawed calculations’

The South London home of Antonia Staats, which she shares with her husband Chris and their two children. Prof Ferguson is thought to have met Ms Staat’s husband and they share an interest in data science, a friend told the Telegraph.

Ms Staats is believed to have visited the scientist shortly after he finished self-isolating for two weeks

Neighbours at Professor Ferguson’s former marital home in Oxford (pictured above) were furious at his behaviour. He and his wife Kim, who is involved with the residents’ association, are said to be estranged

Boris Johnson today announced he is hoping to begin easing the UK’s coronavirus lockdown on Monday as Matt Hancock suggested cafes could reopen if they have outdoor drinking areas.

The Prime Minister said some measures will be lifted from the start of next week if the latest scientific evidence shows the spread of the disease is sufficiently under control.

The PM will renew social distancing restrictions on Thursday before using an address to the nation on Sunday night to set out his lockdown exit strategy.

He is pushing ahead despite today admitting the UK’s death toll, which is closing in on 30,000 and is the worst in Europe, is ‘appalling’.

Mr Johnson said the Sunday address would prepare people for potential changes on Monday but the specifics remain a secret.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave a hint as to what could be expected as he suggested cafes with outdoor seating could be allowed to reopen in certain circumstances.

He told Sky News: ‘There is strong evidence that outdoors the spread is much, much lower, so there may be workarounds that some businesses, for instance cafes, especially over the summer, may be able to put into place.’

His comments are likely to prompt questions as to whether pubs could also be allowed to reopen over the summer if they have a beer garden as some chains suggested customers could order rounds using their mobile phones.

Meanwhile, Public Health England is said to have told councils across the country to prepare this weekend to shift away from the government’s current ‘stay home’ message to a new slogan.

Mr Johnson made his lockdown timing announcement as he returned to the House of Commons for the first time since his recovery from coronavirus.

Critics including many Britons on social media called him an ‘arrogant hypocrite’ for ignoring the lockdown rules he helped sculpt.

Matt Hancock admitted it was ‘just not possible’ for Prof Ferguson to continue advising the Government, and on the academic’s claims he believed he was ‘immune’ from Covid-19 Mr Hancock said: ‘I asked the Chief Medical Officer this exact question recently and said: ‘because I’ve had it do I have to do social distancing?’ and the answer was a clear ‘yes’. 

The Cabinet minister praised him as a ‘very eminent’ scientist whose work has been ‘important’ in the Government’s response, but said he had to resign. 

Scotland Yard said in a statement this afternoon that Prof Ferguson had accepted responsibility so they will not take further action.

‘We remain committed to our role in supporting adherence to Government guidance and have made it clear that our starting position is explaining the need to follow the regulations with anyone who is in breach in order to keep people safe and protect the NHS,’ a statement from the force said.

‘It is clear in this case that whilst this behaviour is plainly disappointing, Professor Ferguson has accepted that he made an error of judgement and has taken responsibility for that.

‘We therefore do not intend to take any further action.’

In a resignation statement last night, the academic, who is married with a son but is believed to be separated from his wife, admitted he had ‘made an error of judgement’ but claimed he thought he was ‘immune’ to the illness – despite leading scientists and the World Health Organisation saying there is still not enough evidence recovering from Covid-19 can protect you from reinfection.  

Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘Unbelievable and shocking. So, the government is ”following the science” of scientists who don’t even follow their own science. What a shameful shambles. Professor Ferguson’s excuse is he thought he was immune from COVID-19 after having it – despite there being zero scientific proof people who’ve had it actually get immunity. And this guy’s the No1 ‘expert’ on whom the government is basing its entire coronavirus strategy?’

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Scientists like him have told us we should not be doing it, so surely in his case, it is a case of we have been doing as he says and he has been doing as he wants. 

‘He has peculiarly breached his own guidelines. For an intelligent man, I find that very hard to believe. It risks undermining the Government’s lockdown message’.

How architect of the lockdown lectured the country while flouting the rules 

Professor Neil Ferguson, 51, pictured on March 25 before the Commons Science and Technology Committee – five days before allowed his married lover, Antonia Staats, to visit him at his home

MARCH 16: A week before the lockdown began Professor Neil Ferguson was arguing that a full lockdown was required to slow the number of deaths and said: ‘We are left with no option but to adopt this more draconian strategy’. 

A report he authored for his employer Imperial College London warned that 500,000 people could die without mass self-isolation of households. 

MARCH 17:  He visited Downing Street to advise the Prime Minister on his findings including recommendations for a lockdown.

MARCH 18: Professor Ferguson tests positive for coronavirus

MARCH 23: Boris Johnson announces there will be a lockdown in a national TV address 

MARCH 25: Prof Ferguson appears before the Commons Science and Technology Committee and warns that the NHS will be overwhelmed without a lockdown, 

MARCH 30: His married lover Antonia Staats visited Prof Ferguson just after he had finished two weeks of self-isolation after testing positive for the virus. He also did a Radio 4 interview on the importance of the lockdown.  

APRIL 4: Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today, he said: ‘We want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May we can substitute less intensive measures for the current lockdown we have now… I don’t think anyone wants to lift measures at the current time and risk the epidemic getting worse’

APRIL 8:  Antonia made a second visit to Professor Ferguson 8 despite telling friends that her husband, an academic in his 30s, was showing symptoms of coronavirus.

APRIL 16: Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Professor Neil Ferguson had stressed the importance of keeping to social distancing guidelines. He said at the time: ‘If we want to reopen schools, let people get back to work, then we need to keep transmission down in another manner. It is not going to go back to normal, we will have to maintain some level of social distancing – significant levels of social distancing – probably indefinitely until we have a vaccine available.’

APRIL 25: The number of deaths from coronavirus could reach 100,000 in the UK by the end of this year if a gradual lockdown is implemented just to shield the elderly, Professor Neil Ferguson warned. He told UnHerd: ‘You would require a very high level of effective shielding for that to be a viable strategy. If you just achieve 80 per cent shielding – and 80 per cent reduction in infection risk in those groups – we still project that you would get more than 100,000 deaths this year from that kind of strategy. The most vulnerable people are also the people who most need care and most need interaction with the health system and are least able to be truly isolated.’

Good Morning Britain medic Dr Hilary Jones said today: ‘He says it was an error of judgement but I don’t think there was any judgement at all. He was prepared to take risks but when you take risks you not only put yourself at risk but others as well. He had no choice but to resign as it was unacceptable that someone who set down rules and told the government what measures should be in place does that.’

Psychologist Emma Kenny told GMB: ‘I’m not surprised he has broken his own rules because he consistently got the figures wrong and has given us a completely false representation of what we are facing’. 

The epidemiologist, director of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London, authored the report containing the apocalyptic prediction that coronavirus could kill 500,000 Britons – convincing the Prime Minister he had to lockdown the country from March 23. 

Yet on March 30, Ms Staats, who lives with her husband Chris and their two children in a £1.9million house in south London, travelled across the capital to visit her scientist lover, who then apparently warned the country the lockdown would be necessary until June in a BBC interview when Ms Staats was allegedly in his flat.

His married lover, a Left-wing campaigner who has repeated slammed Boris Johnson and Brexit on social media, made a second visit to Professor Ferguson on April 8 despite telling friends that her husband, an academic in his 30s, was showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Ms Staats has reportedly insisted her actions to visit the scientist are not hypocritical, as she considers the households to be one because she is understood to be in an ‘open relationship’.   

One friends of the couple told MailOnline: ‘I last spoke to Chris and Antonia about a week ago. They were going out for a walk with their kids, which is what they’ve been doing every day.

‘We just chatted about life in lockdown and how we’re all coping. They’re home schooling their kids and Antonia was saying how weird it all is because they had never spent so much time together. But she did say they’ve got a nice house with lots of space and are luckier than many other people.

‘She did say that the cleaner isn’t coming at the moment and that they’re dividing the household chores between them, which made me laugh because that’s a very middle class problem’.

Other neighbours described Chris Lucas as a bright, articulate man who enjoys taking part in community activities. 

They said that both he and Antonia are popular residents of the affluent, middle class area where houses cost in excess of £1.5 million.

One said: ‘Chris is incredibly intelligent. He speaks about six or seven languages and is an academic at SOAS.

‘Both he and Antonia are very popular around here and are a big part of our community. I always enjoy talking to them, especially Chris who is very knowledgeable about Middle Eastern affairs. 

In 2017, Ms Staats was pictured protesting outside Parliament next to puppets of Theresa May and Rupert Murdoch while holding a banner that read: ‘Stop Murdoch pulling the strings.’

Ms Staats (second left) has insisted her actions to visit the scientist are not hypocritical, as she considers the households to be one

How Professor Neil Ferguson has advised the government on series of outbreaks including swine flu, foot and mouth and BSE 

Professor Neil Ferguson, 51, is considered one of the country’s most eminent scientists having made his name during the foot and mouth crisis.

His controversial predictions about the number of possible deaths from coronavirus in the UK and US, as well as his regular TV and radio interviews, has also made him a household name 

He was born in Cumbria but grew up in Mid Wales, earning a masters degree in Physics and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford. 

He specialises in measuring the spread of infectious disease in humans and animals through mathematical modelling and has provided data on several outbreaks including the swine flu outbreak in 2009 in the UK, the 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus outbreak and the ebola epidemic in Western Africa in 2016.

He is currently the director of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London, and, before his resignation, a member of the government’s SAGE committee that advises ministers on tackling the coronavirus pandemic.  

In March, he calculated that without a draconian national lockdown, coronavirus would claim 510,000 lives.

But crucially, he also estimated that 250,000 would die if ministers stuck with the strategy of controlling the spread with limited measures – such as home isolation for those displaying symptoms of the virus.

Prof Ferguson reckoned that if the strictest possible measures were introduced the number of deaths over a two-year period would fall to below 20,000.

In hindsight that estimate was ambitious – in less than three months Britain’s death toll has soared to more than 32,000. But it was enough to persuade Mr Johnson to impose the most drastic peacetime measures ever seen. 

Prof Ferguson has been a regular presence on television and on the radio throughout the crisis. But he has rejected the ‘Professor Lockdown’ nickname used by many.

In one interview, on the Andrew Marr show last month, he insisted it was up to ministers to make the decisions. ‘We provide scientific evidence along with a lot of other scientific groups across the country which fed into government policy,’ he said.

‘But we did not determine that policy, there are a number of balancing acts involved in doing that.’ He also points out that he leads one of at least five modelling teams who had come to similar conclusions in March.

But as a long-term member of the Government’s SAGE scientific advisory committee – and with a high-profile media presence – his voice is one that will have been heard louder than most. On March 18 he fell victim to the virus himself. Two days previously he stood next to Health Secretary Matt Hancock at a Press conference.

Mr Hancock learned he had the virus a few days later. Mr Johnson and Chris Whitty, the chief medical advisor, developed symptoms the same day. Colleagues describe the 51-year-old as an energetic workaholic who has little need for sleep. 

Prof Ferguson rose to prominence during the 2001 foot and mouth crisis. His research, carried out with mentor Professor Roy Anderson, helped persuade Tony Blair’s government to carry out a devastating cull of animals, and saw him awarded an OBE.His work suggested that animals to be culled should include not only those found to be infected with the virus but also those on adjacent farms.

A decade later another highly critical report said the Government ordered the destruction of millions of animals because of ‘severely flawed’ modelling.

In 2002, Prof Ferguson published a report on the BSE crisis, years after the peak of the episode.He speculated that BSE in cows and sheep could cause up to 150,000 human deaths – to date fewer than 200 have died. He has since been involved in modelling numbers during the SARS, bird flu, ebola and Zika epidemics, with varying accuracy. He stands by his work – pointing out that each calculation has come with a ‘range’ of possible eventualities.

‘Whenever we have any kind of community celebration they always take part along with their kids. They are a great family.’

Another neighbour said: ‘I’ve known Chris and his family for five years they are really nice, helpful people.

‘Chris is really intelligent and successful but he’s really down to earth, as is Antonia, who is also incredibly bright. I’ m not interested in the kind of relationship they had, that’s nobody’s business.

‘She’s a lovely person, really kind hearted and cares about making the world a better place. They’re a wonderful family.’   

The scientist has quit his role on the secretive SAGE committee of experts advising the Prime Minister but Imperial College London appears to be standing by him and said today that Prof Ferguson ‘continues to focus on his important research’. 

The epidemiologist said in a statement: ‘I accept I made an error of judgment and took the wrong course of action. I have therefore stepped back from my involvement in Sage [the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies].

‘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.

‘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.’

Neighbours at Prof Ferguson’s former marital home in Oxford were furious at his behaviour.

He and his wife Kim, who is involved with the residents’ association, are said to be estranged.

Their home, set on a private cul-de-sac next to a pond, was part of a luxury horseshoe-style development completed in 2001.

One elderly resident who did not want to be named said: ‘I feel incredibly sorry for his wife and child. They are totally blameless and humiliated I would think. I find it very sad that he has done this.’

Another resident sitting in the sunshine near to Professor Ferguson’s home, said: ‘My sympathies are with his wife. She has put a message on our lockdown Whatsapp group saying she does not want to talk about it’.

Another man, out for a stroll with his wife, said: ‘He’s not been around for weeks. I don’t think he actually lives here anymore. I think he should have taken a leaf out of his neighbours’ books. We have been observing the lockdown like everyone else. I just think he must have thought it was no risk because he’d already had it.’

Security Minister James Brokenshire said Prof Ferguson had ‘made the right decision’ in resigning from Sage.

He told Sky News: ‘Professor Ferguson, I think, has obviously made his statement underlining that there’s no excuse for not following the social distancing rules, and I think he’s made the right decision here.

‘The work of Sage continues and obviously we will continue to be informed by that group and the experts that provide that support to the Government.’

Asked whether Prof Ferguson’s comments about immunity – in which he stated that he believed he was immune after contracting Covid-19 – should be taken seriously, Mr Brokenshire said it is ‘too early’ to reach conclusions.

Ms Staats visited Prof Ferguson just after he had finished two weeks of self-isolation after testing positive for the virus.

The visits came despite the government warning couples that they would either have to move in with each other or face staying apart during the coronavirus lockdown. 

He told the BBC Today Programme in mid-April, after he had seen his lover: ‘If we want to reopen schools, let people get back to work then we need to keep transmissions down in another manner. It’s not going to be going back to normal, we will have to maintain some level of social distancing, significant level of social distancing probably indefinitely until we have a vaccine available’.

It was suggested the restrictions are an opportunity to ‘test relationships’ and Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer, said: ‘If the two halves of a couple are currently in separate households, ideally they should stay in those households. 

Elon Musk leads US anger at ‘hypocritical’ British ‘Professor Lockdown’ over rule-breaking trysts 

Elon Musk has branded the British scientist who initiated the lockdown a ‘moron’ and a ‘tool’ after he broke his own rules to see his married lover.

The billionaire tech tycoon also rubbished Professor Neil Ferguson’s ‘fake science’ which in March forecast apocalyptic death tolls in the UK and US if both governments remained squeamish about enforcing social distancing

The Imperial College London scientist’s worst-case scenarios of 500,000 and 2.2million victims, respectively, is credited with spooking Downing Street and the White House into action.  

Responding to a tweet about Prof Ferguson’s resignation, the billionaire SpaceX founder Mr Musk said: ‘What a tool’. 

Labeling him ‘a moron’, Musk wrote: ‘Something more should be done. This guy has caused massive strife to the world with his absurdly fake ‘science’.’ 

‘The alternative might be that, for quite a significant period going forwards, they should test the strength of their relationship and decide whether one wishes to be permanently resident in another household.’  

The first of Ms Staat’s visits to Prof Ferguson was on Monday March 30, a week into coronavirus lockdown.  

He appeared on the BBC Today programme at 7.50am that day, with Ms Staats thought to be at the house at the time. 

The visit coincided with a public warning by Prof Ferguson that the lockdown measures would have to remain until at least June. 

Ms Staats, who is a left-wing campaigner, made a second visit to Prof Ferguson on April 8, despite reportedly telling friends that she suspected her own husband, an academic in his 30s, had symptoms of coronavirus.  

She and her husband Chris met while studying at SOAS in London and live in a £1.9 million home with their two children and are understood to be in an ‘open relationship’.

Ms Staats grew up in Isny, south Germany, went to university in Berlin and came to London in 2003, earning a masters in Asian Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, where her husband works. 

She has worked for Avaaz, a US-based online network which promotes global activism on issues such as climate change. 

Professor Neil Ferguson (left  on April 5) warned the number of deaths from coronavirus in the UK could reach 500,000 if lockdown wasn’t implemented – yet he was still happy to spend the night with Antonia Staats, who reportedly told friends that she suspected her own husband, an academic in his 30s, had symptoms of coronavirus

How Imperial College report written by Prof Ferguson warned of 500,000 deaths and persuaded the PM to implement lockdown 

A scientific paper published by Professor Neil Ferguson and his colleagues on the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team was credited for persuading Boris Johnson’s Government to ramp up their response to the coronavirus.

The paper predicted that the Government’s original plan to ‘mitigate’ the outbreak instead of trying to stop it could have led to a quarter of a million people dying.

Using data from Italy and China, the scientists predicted how different Government measures would have different impacts on the outbreaks.

If no action at all had been taken against the coronavirus it would have claimed 510,000 lives, the team’s report said.

Had the Government stuck with their strategy of trying to ‘mitigate’ the spread – allowing it to continue but attempting to slow it down – with limited measures such as home isolation for those with symptoms this number would be roughly halved to 260,000.

If the strictest possible measures are introduced – including school closures and mandatory home quarantine – the number of deaths over a two-year period would fall below 20,000, the scientists said, despite Britain’s death toll far-surpassing that number.

‘Instead of talking about hundreds of thousands of deaths, there still will be a significant health impact that we’ll be talking about,’ Professor Ferguson said.

As a result, the Government implemented the lockdown, announcing that people should stop travelling, stop socialising and work from home. They were also told to avoid visiting their sick or elderly relatives unless they have to.

Other points in the Imperial College report, titled Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand, included:

In 2017, Ms Staats was pictured protesting outside Parliament next to puppets of Theresa May and Rupert Murdoch while holding a banner that read: ‘Stop Murdoch pulling the strings.’  

A few weeks after the second visit, Prof Ferguson warned that the number of deaths from coronavirus could reach 100,000 in the UK by the end of this year if a gradual lockdown is implemented just to shield the elderly. 

He said it was impossible to send the young and healthy back to work while keeping the vulnerable in lockdown without seeing a huge increase in deaths. 

The epidemiologist added that some degree of social isolation will continue to be required until a vaccine to the killer bug is released. 

He has faced criticism for suggesting that UK deaths could hit 500,000 prior to the lockdown. 

Bur Prof Ferguson previously insisted there had been nothing wrong his prediction, saying he’d made it prior to the government bringing in tough measures and said he never thought that such a lockdown would have been pursued. 

His is not the first high-profile resignation of the pandemic, with Dr Catherine Calderwood having quit as Scotland’s chief medical officer after making two trips to her second home.

Prof Ferguson, a mathematician and epidemiologist, led the Imperial team which modelled the spread and impact of Covid-19 in a Government-commissioned report. 

In the report’s wake, the Prime Minister announced the lockdown on March 23 ordering the public to stay at home as he shut most shops and gave police unprecedented enforcement powers.

Under those measures, partners who do not live together were told they can no longer see each other.

Prof Ferguson said on March 18 that he had the fever and cough symptoms of Covid-19 and that there was a small risk he had infected others.

‘The more serious point is that it highlights the need for the response which has been enacted,’ he said at the time. 

The number of people dying each week during the UK’s coronavirus crisis has been significantly higher – more than double in recent weeks – than the average number of deaths for this time of year

Neil Ferguson joins long list of famous names who flouted the lockdown

Professor Neil Ferguson, the scientist whose research helped usher in the lockdown, has resigned from his role as a key Government adviser after admitting that he had undermined social distancing rules by meeting his lover at his home.

But Prof Ferguson is not the first prominent figure to be caught breaching social-distancing restrictions amid the global coronavirus pandemic. 

– Dr Catherine Calderwood

Scotland’s chief medical officer resigned in April after twice breaking lockdown restrictions in order to visit her second home, which was located more than an hour away from her main residence in Edinburgh.

Despite Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backing Dr Calderwood to remain in her position, she ultimately decided to relinquish her role so as not to be a ‘distraction’ from the Government’s social-distancing message.

– Robert Jenrick

The housing, communities and local government secretary was forced to explain himself after travelling more than an hour to visit his parents despite warning people to remain at home.

Mr Jenrick was also criticised for travelling 150 miles from his London property to his Herefordshire home from where he travelled to his parents in Shropshire.

However, he defended his actions, saying he went to deliver food and medicine to his isolating parents.

– Stephen Kinnock

The MP for Aberavon in South Wales was publicly shamed by police after travelling to London to celebrate his father’s birthday.

After Mr Kinnock posted a photo on Twitter of himself practicing social distancing with his parents outside their home, South Wales Police replied: ‘We know celebrating your Dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel. We all have our part to play in this, we urge you to comply with (lockdown) restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe. Thank you.’

Following his recovery from the symptoms, he later told the BBC that ‘significant levels of social distancing’ would be required until a vaccine has been developed.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last month, he said: ‘If we want to reopen schools, let people get back to work, then we need to keep transmission down in another manner.

‘It is not going to go back to normal, we will have to maintain some level of social distancing – significant levels of social distancing – probably indefinitely until we have a vaccine available.’

It comes as another 693 people were yesterday confirmed to have died of COVID-19 in Britain, taking the number of victims to 29,427 and making Britain the worst-hit nation in Europe. 

And separate backdated figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the figure appears to have already been higher than 32,000 by April 24 – 10 days ago. 

In other developments in the UK’s coronavirus battle today:

  • Dominic Raab issued a thinly-veiled warning to Russia and China tonight as he lashed out at ‘predatory’ hackers targeting organisations involved in the fight against coronavirus;
  • At least 12 different strains of coronavirus were circulating in the UK in March – including one that has only ever been found in Britain, Government-funded study finds;
  • Rishi Sunak could reduce government furlough wage support from 80 per cent to 60 per cent in the months ahead as part of a plan to ease Britain back to work, it was claimed today;
  • Experts warned the NHS’s new coronavirus track-and-trace app could be hijacked by trolls;
  • Nicola Sturgeon unveiled her own lockdown ‘exit strategy’ and suggested she will not let schools open until August; 
  • Cities and rural areas could be treated differently when coronavirus lockdown measures are eased, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser hinted today. 

That number is 42 per cent higher than the count announced by the Department of Health at the time, suggesting the current total could be higher than 40,000 – this would mean COVID-19 has killed more Britons in eight weeks than died over seven months during the Blitz bombings in World War Two.

Today’s data confirms that more people have died of the coronavirus in the UK than in Italy, still considered to be the worst-hit country in Europe and had suffered 29,079 fatalities by this morning. Only the US has had more deaths than Britain – almost 70,000 – while there have been 25,600 in Spain and 25,200 in France.

What ARE the lockdown rules and has Professor Ferguson broken them?  

Regulation 6 of the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 states no person may leave the place where they live without a reasonable excuse.

The National Police Chief’s Council has released its interpretation of what constitutes a ‘reasonable excuse’: 

It classifies explains its interpretation of how the law relates to everyday activities. 

It defines activites that are likely to be reasonable as: 

– Buying several days’ worth of food, including luxury items and alcohol. 

– Buying tools and supplies to repair a fence panel damaged in recent bad weather.  

 – Exercise including: going for a run or cycle or practicing yoga. Walking in the countryside or in cities. Attending an allotment.

 – Stopping to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk. 

It defines activities that are ‘not likely to be reasonable’ as: 

– Buying paint and brushes, simply to redecorate a kitchen

– A short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period 

– A person who can work from home choosing to work in a local park. 

– Couples who live in separate homes should stay living apart. 

This final point suggests that Professor Ferguson, 51, and Antonia Staats, 38, should be fined – although Ms Staats is said to believe that because they are lovers they should be classed as the same household.  But Scotland Yard has said Professor Neil Ferguson’s behaviour is ‘plainly disappointing’ but officers ‘do not intend to take any further action’ after accepting his error. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today also announced 4,406 more cases of the life-threatening virus had been confirmed, taking the official size of the outbreak to 194,990 – but the true size of the UK’s crisis is a mystery due to the controversial decision to abandon widespread testing early on.

In Downing Street’s press conference, Mr Raab also lashed out at ‘predatory’ hackers targeting organisations involved in the fight against coronavirus, saying criminals and ‘hostile states’ were trying to take advantage of the crisis for their own ‘malicious ends’.

Discussing the death toll, he added that the scale of the disaster in Britain was a ‘massive tragedy’ on a scale the country has never seen before. He refused to speculate on international comparisons.  

Meanwhile, Mr Raab warned that a blanket reopening of schools next month would risk a deadly second wave of coronavirus.

The Foreign Secretary dashed hopes of a widespread return after half-term, warning that it was too soon to even consider the move.

Speaking at the daily No 10 press briefing, Mr Raab said evidence from scientists indicated that opening all schools would lead to a ‘very real risk’ of a steep rise in transmission rates. 

The warning came just hours after Nicola Sturgeon said schools north of the border were unlikely to reopen in the foreseeable future.

Scotland’s First Minister said reopening now would ‘most likely’ see hospitals north of the border ‘overwhelmed’ with coronavirus cases within two months. She warned it ‘might not be possible at all ahead of the summer holidays’. 

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs there would be a ‘phased approach’ to reopening.

Is Neil Ferguson right and do coronavirus survivers really gain immuinity? 

Leading virologists have repeatedly warned the truth on whether COVID-19 survivors have any degree of immunity is still murky.

With some infectious diseases, such as measles, the immunity can be lifelong. With others, immunity can wane over time.

When someone gets infected with a virus their immune system must work out how to fight it off and produce substances called antibodies. Antibodies – which can be found in blood tests – are stored in the immune system so if it comes into contact with that same virus again it can fight it off.

While antibodies typically confer some degree of immunity, whether that is the case with this unique coronavirus is not yet known.

Most scientists tracking the pandemic, which started in China in December, agree that COVID-19 survivors will get some degree of protection.

But the World Health Organization has warned there is ‘currently no evidence’ recovered patients are protected from a second infection at all.

Other experts have claimed similar coronaviruses – including ones that cause the common cold – also induce immunity for around three months.

Number 10’s chief scientific adviser yesterday told MPs that survivors will ‘almost certainly’ not obtain ‘absolute immunity’.

He said: ‘We will take a phased approach in terms of reopening schools and we will always aim to give schools, parents and, of course, critically importantly, children the maximum notice in terms of when this is going to happen.’

Mr Raab said that it would not be a ‘binary’ situation where schools were either fully open or fully shut.

He added: ‘At least to date the evidence has been that we wouldn’t be able to open up all schools without a very real risk that the R rate – the transmission rate – would rise at such a level that we would risk a second spike.’

He said he had asked the Government’s scientific advisers for the best options and would be guided by them.

Sources last night said ministers were still hopeful that some children could go back to school after half-term at the beginning of next month. However, they have ruled out making any return compulsory.

Sources told the Mail parents would not face fines if they refuse to send children back. 

Any return is likely to involve only some year groups going back to school at first to allow for greater social distancing in the classroom. Under normal circumstances schooling is compulsory, with parents facing £60 fines if they fail to send their children to school without good reason. Fines double to £120 if not paid within 21 days, and parents can face prosecution if they refuse to pay after 28 days.

Teaching unions have asked for guarantees that fines will be suspended during any back-to-school transition, when many children will still be told to stay at home.

Teachers yesterday warned they ‘must not be used as an experiment’, amid fears that resistance to returning to classrooms could render the reopening of schools impossible.

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‘Supergirl’: David Harewood is ‘Enjoying Lockdown’ While He Waits Out the Coronavirus

On Supergirl, it seems as if J’onn Jonzz, aka the Martian Manhunter, is endlessly battling aggressive aliens, billionaire sociopaths, or apocalyptic threats. Working with Kara Zor-El to save the planet must be exhausting, for both the character and the actor who plays J’onn. Now on a break from shooting the show, David Harewood, the actor who brings J’onn to life on screen, shared his take on the unscheduled downtime during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Here’s what he said on Instagram.

‘Supergirl’ halted production in March

Supergirl was nearly finished filming season 5 when production was abruptly halted. A coronavirus pandemic paralyzed many industries, including television and film production studios.

Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Supergirl joined in efforts to slow the spread of the highly contagious bug by delaying production. The show has been on a shooting hiatus since March, and although the circumstances are less than ideal, one of the show’s stars, Harewood, has found a silver lining.

David Harewood’s take on the coronavirus lockdown

In an April Instagram post, Harewood shared a snapshot of himself with a simple backdrop of palm trees and blue skies. Sitting in the sunshine, he rocked cool sunglasses and appeared to enjoy some solo time. In the caption, he wrote:

Truth be told, I’m enjoying lockdown. With only eight weeks off a year for the past four years and usually filling those eight weeks with all sorts [of things], I’m loving just being at home with family and dog and not rushing around filling my time with things. Enjoying a much-needed break.

Harewood’s famous friends chimed in with well-wishes, includingSupergirl’s ex-James Olsen, Mehcad Brooks, who commented, “Bless you.”

“So happy to hear it,” replied Staz Nair, who portrays Supergirlnewcomer, William Dey.

Harewood’s ‘lockdown look’

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The Lockdown look.

A post shared by David Harewood (@davidharewood) on

Bringing some much-needed levity to the era of social distancing, Harewood shared a comical selfie sporting what he called “the lockdown look.” To the photo, he added a filter that gave the actor an overgrown beard and hairdo.

“Omg, I thought that was a huge tarantula. My heart is racing so freaking fast!” commented one follower.

And another fan quipped, “See, that’s what happens when all the stylists are closed?” More fans piled on, comparing Harewood’s burly look to a lion, a Bigfoot, and even Moses.

‘Supergirl’ will return in May

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Suit Up. #martianmanhunter

A post shared by David Harewood (@davidharewood) on

Going into the back end of season 5, Supergirl fans will have to wait a bit longer than anticipated to see how the story shakes out. The last new episode of Supergirl, titled “Alex in Wonderland,” aired on March 22. Since then, The CW has broadcasted alternative programming in its time slot, including encore episodes of the series.

The upcoming installment, “Deus Lex Machina,” was initially scheduled for May 29. However, due to delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak, The CW pushed the episode to April 26, but it turns out they will miss that mark as well. The broadcast giant had to shift the schedule yet again, and according to Spoiler TV, the new episode air date is May 3. Until then, fans can stream five earlier episodes on and catch up on previous seasons on Netflix. Supergirl airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. on The CW.

Read more: ‘Supergirl’: Chris Wood and Odette Annable are Joining Forces Again

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David Bowie bass guitarist Matthew Seligman dies aged 64

David Bowie bass guitarist Matthew Seligman dies aged 64 after coronavirus battle

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Renowned bass guitarist Matthew Seligman, who played with David Bowie at Live Aid in 1985, has died from coronavirus aged 64.

The musician is best known for his role in the new wave scene in the 1980s and was a member of The Soft Boys and The Thompson Twins, also collaborating with Thomas Dolby.

Dolby, 61, confirmed his friend’s death and said a candlelight vigil to remember the star would be held on YouTube live on 19 April at 8pm, saying: ‘Matthew would want us to remember the good times and have a party.’ 

Fondly remembered: Renowned bass guitarist Matthew Seligman, who played with David Bowie at Live Aid in 1985, has died from coronavirus aged 64 (pictured in 2010) 

Matthew had been battling COVID-19 for two weeks and had been on a ventilator at St George’s Hospital in London.

He leaves behind son Deji, daughter Lily, and Mami, his partner and Lily’s mother. 

Born in Cyprus and raised in England, the bassist first came to prominence as a founding member of Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, and psychedelic group The Soft Boys.

Iconic: Seligman even played with David Bowie during his legendary performance at Live Aid in 1985 (pictured) 

Matthew also had short-lived spells with The Fallout Club, The Thompson Twins, The Dolphin Brothers and joined Dolby’s solo group. 

He gained a reputation as a session musician and collaborated with Morrissey, Tori Amos, Sinead O’Connor and David Bowie.

He would even play at Bowie’s iconic 1985 performance at Live Aid to an audience of billions and also featured on his next two albums.

Matthew moved to Japan for a few years in 2000 before returning to the UK and switching professions to law, specialising in human rights. 

‘Grateful’: Robyn Hitchcock, who fronted The Soft Boys and played alongside Seligman, has paid tribute to the bassist

Fellow Soft Boys member Robyn Hitchcock paid tribute to his former bandmate, saying: ‘Everybody goes, but none of us were expecting Matthew to leave us so abruptly, forever.

‘I’m profoundly grateful to have played music with him – you could really see his face light up like a full moon when he listened back to a take he enjoyed. 

‘Onstage he would lope and lurch and pace when the music moved him. Matthew is, was, and always will be one of the greats.’

‘One of the greats’: The bassist and lawyer has been fondly remembered by his former bandmates

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We Made David From 'Too Hot to Handle' Explain British Banter to All of Us Dumb Americans

[There are spoilers ahead for Too Hot to Handle. You’ve been warned!]

Of all the sexy singles on Too Hot to Handle, David Birtwistle might be the hottest. Okay, JK, that’s literally an impossible decision to make, but still. The show dropped today, and it’s the perfect amount of addicting for this weekend, which you’ll probably spend indoors. The London native charmed his way through the seasons and is probably about to become everyone’s favorite Instagram deep-dive. David chatted with Cosmopolitan about his time on the show, including giving us a really quick British slang lesson. Yes, he’s so attractive you’ll be hanging on his every word, but you’ll also wanna know what the hell he’s talking about.

My first and most immediate question is… what the hell is “bants?”

If you’ve got top bants, that is, you’re kind of funny, right? British people, we have a relatively dry sense of humor a lot of the time, like we’re not quite as overtly funny as American humor is. We’re kind of a bit dry, sarcastic, like rude, to be honest, and banter, to be honest, is often rude. Funny, but it comes from a place of mug. So if you’ve got good banter, it means you can you can give someone shit, but you like them, and you can take it as well. That’s the most important thing, that it’s a two way street. If you give out banter to someone, you make a joke at their expense, you have to be able to take that same joke.

So it’s like the ability to poke fun at someone and have them take it like a good sport?

Yeah, exactly. And it was really interesting because the Americans in the group didn’t get that initially. Like the British and American humor I think were different. But very quickly, everyone got on the same page and some of the Americans really started to get very good at British banter. And really started to take it seriously. It was so funny.

Harry and Francesca said they really struggled at times because it felt like everyone was against them. What was that like on your end?

Harry and Francesca definitely had some moments where they were just thinking about themselves. Those two seemed to have a really strong bond really early on, which effectively led them into temptation more than someone like, let’s say me and Nicole, who maybe weren’t under the same temptation. We tried to sit Harry down, like the lads would get together and talk to like him, “Mate, come on, you’ve got to think about other people.” You know, sometimes he was like, “Yeah, but put yourself in our position, how would you behave?”

It seemed like you all learned about vulnerability in romantic relationships, but the men in particular learned a lot about relating to other men. What do you think you learned more about?

I think the two are interlinked. I think if you are willing to show vulnerability in front of a man, then you’re going to be more willing to show vulnerability in front of your partner, and that’s going to grow a relationship between both. So I think the show definitely highlighted some of the things that I could do better as a person, and I definitely learned a lot from it. And I think that it showed me how men don’t have to constantly compete with each other. They don’t have to keep quiet. They don’t have to internalize stuff. Because actually, when you talk about things, when you are able to be open in front of your friends, then your relationship gets stronger.

Did the show change the way you date?

It’s definitely changed the way I date. That’s for sure. Hundred percent. Since the retreat, I’ve been a lot more purposeful with how I’ve been dating. I realize I do want a serious relationship. I want a wife at some point. I’m ready to commit to someone and so since the end of the retreat I’m like, okay, how am I actually gonna do that? And I need to start dating with purpose and actually like thinking about the girls that I date from a more long term perspective rather than just, “This is fun.”

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Artist David Hockney sparks row after claiming smoking protects against coronavirus – The Sun

DAVID Hockney has sparked a row after claiming that smoking protects against coronavirus.

The artist, 82, who is a keen smoker, has previously described smoking bans in enclosed public spaces as the "most grotesque piece of social engineering".

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Now, in a letter to The Daily Mail, he wrote: "Could it not be that smokers have developed an immune system to this virus?

"With all these figures coming out (in) research in China it's beginning to look like that to me.

"I'm serious and remember cigars and cigarettes are vegan."

The newspaper said he was referring to research in China on the numbers of smokers being treated with Covid-19 in hospitals.

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Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the charity Action On Smoking And Health (Ash) rejected his comments.

"David Hockney is a very heavy smoker… but this is risky advice for others to take," she said.

"Quitting smoking has immediate benefits.

"If you quit, endothelial function in the linings of small arteries in the blood system improves rapidly."

She said endothelial dysfunction was implicated in Covid-19 and smokers therefore were at higher risk of complications.

Advice published by the National Institute For Health And Care Excellence (Nice) "strongly encourages" smokers with severe respiratory disease to quit because of coronavirus.

Dr Sanjay Agrawal, consultant in respiratory and intensive care medicine, previously said: "Doctors should be strongly encouraging smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to quit.

"In fact they should be encouraging all smokers to quit, as early evidence from China shows that smokers who contract Covid-19 are more likely to develop severe disease, to end up in intensive care and to die.


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"Smokers should try to quit without delay.

"The benefits from quitting are immediate, including increased oxygen supply to the lungs, reduced risk of respiratory infections, and improvements in blood pressure.

"Longer-term benefits include significant reductions in the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and COPD."

'No evidence'

Dr Hilary Jones also refuted the claims by Hockney – who is currently painting in Normandy, France, which he has said "is a lot more smoker-friendly than England".

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the GP said: "There's no evidence whatsoever to support that.

"In fact, if you look at the comorbidities, the reasons why people with pre-existing conditions fare so badly with Covid-19 is because of their age, because of them being obese or because they have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by years of smoking.

"So whether you smoke today or whether you smoked for many years, you are more likely to suffer from the consequences of Covid-19.

"I'm afraid David, there is no way out of this. Smoking is not good for you now and never has been."

Public Health England warned earlier this month that smokers are actually at a much higher risk of coronavirus.

Officials pointed to a "small but highly impactful" survey from China which found that smokers with Covid-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe disease.

The study looked at the factors which led to the progression of Covid-19 pneumonia in patients at three hospitals in Wuhan, China – where the first cases of coronavirus were detected late last year.

A "history of smoking" was among the factors which were identified by the study which took place between December 30 last year and January 15.

Age, maximum body temperature on admission and respiratory failure were among other notable factors, according to the study, which was published in the Chinese Medical Journal.

These results "can be used to further enhance the ability of management of Covid-19 pneumonia", it concluded.

It has been reported that more than 3,300 people have died of Covid-19 in China.

PHE also says the virus is given an easy route of entry by the repetitive hand to mouth movement used by smokers.

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