PANDA’s Nick Hudson on his shot to fame; and the real concern behind YouTube’s censorship

Last week YouTube removed the video of PANDA co-founder Nick Hudson’s keynote at last month’s BizNews Investment Conference because it “explicitly disputes WHO guidelines on social distancing and self-isolation”. This action has suddenly seen Hudson gain fame, with Fox TV’s Ingraham Angle one of many inundating him with interview requests. In this chat with BizNews founder Alec Hogg, Hudson talks about this shot to fame and says the real concern is the censorship of alternate views because governments aren’t always right.

Nick Hudson on YouTube removing the video:

No, not really. What YouTube has committed to doing is to taking down anything that suggests any kind of disagreement with the World Health Organisation or local health authorities – regardless of whether or not the objecting voice – the dissenting voice – is accurate.

On why YouTube took so long to remove the video:

I think they probably want to create the illusion that they’re not that censorious. So, they will go after the things that get traction and that people respond to. But it is a very disturbing place that we’ve gotten to, because among those 500,000 views that we got in the first couple of days – and all the comments that flowed from them – there wasn’t a single instance of anybody complaining about something specific in the presentation.

There were no contestations of the factual content. A lot of that factual content actually was derived from the World Health Organisation, the CDC, and Johns Hopkins University. There were no contestations of matters of fact [and a] 100 to one ratio of likes to dislikes. That kind of very broad injunction that they give you; they never follow up if you ask them, ‘tell us which statement you would like us to remove’. You can’t have that conversation with them. They’ll just reissue the same warning again.

On responses to the video being taken down:

There’s a lot of emotion around it and we’ve had a lot of inbound communication. I think it’s woken a few people up to the extent to which they’ve been lied to – because that has been what’s going on. You have media – mainstream media – which has committed to reinforcing whatever government says. That’s a very dangerous situation because from time to time, governments and the World Health Organisation make mistakes. If you destroy the means of error corrections, then those mistakes get propagated all around the world. That’s what’s happened non-stop since this whole Coronavirus crisis broke.

On responding to those who feel he is the voice of unreason:

There’s an element of brainwashing that’s gone on when you get a consistent narrative day after day – a narrative of fear and drama – people begin to believe it. That’s the danger here. We haven’t had a debate. Dissenting voices have not been in the public eye. When you’re faced with something complicated like an epidemic, there should be visible debate about what the right things to do are, how the decision should be made, and what issues should be contemplated.

The funny thing is that was where we started. We said, back in May last year, that no government who were implementing these lockdowns had done any form of cost benefit analysis and that was missing from the conversation.

On the spread of Covid-19:

Even that question is quite loaded, because it assumes that it’s a good idea to attempt to arrest the spread. First of all, the measures are not shown to have any meaningful impact on slowing the spread. We’ve seen that with countries that don’t lockdown, on average, having pretty much the same outcome as countries that do. There’s even an argument – from epidemiology itself – that says that in slowing the spread, what you do is shift the disease burden onto vulnerable people.

Even that is a contestable point. But what we said – right from the beginning – is that this is a disease that affects the elderly [and] vulnerable. It’s got a very low mortality rate for people under 70. We’ve said that you want to protect the vulnerable and you do that by making sure that the places where it spreads – which is predominantly hospitals and nursing homes – are looked after, well-ventilated, and hygienic.

You try and minimise the number of people who are transacting with those institutions and moving in and out of them. We had loads of ideas at the beginning. We proposed, instead of locking down, increase the state old-age pension for a temporary period and allow people to afford to self-isolate – because that’s a reality that we thought was being completely missed. For most people in South Africa, isolating is not even a realistic proposition.

Living circumstances don’t permit it. We suggested using all the empty hotels to house vulnerable people who weren’t under proper care. We’ve got a protocol for reopening society on our website, which people can go read. There are a number of suggestions made in there as well. But there are very few countries in the world that have really made efforts in that direction.

On the Pfizer vaccines South Africa has purchased:

It’s absurd and just evidence of the extent to which our decision makers are in the hands of the profit motives of Big Pharma. There’s very little doubt that naturally-acquired immunity is a lot broader and more effective than vaccine-induced immunity. Vaccines come with potential adverse events. That’s why you do safety trials and it’s why you track those adverse events in databases.

To be administering vaccines to people who have recovered from the disease is not such an intelligent step. It really doesn’t make sense to be administering them to children. If you exclude children and recovered people from our population, you’re left with a really much smaller percentage which should be targeted.

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