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Biznews audience member Stephen Price wrote to Alec Hogg with several questions for Nick Hudson of PANDA, after watching his keynote address at the BizNews conference this month. Nick Hudson responds to his questions around policymaking, targeted protection, testing for the disease, mask wearing and vaccines. – Melani Nathan
From Nick Hudson
Hi Stephen. Thank you for your questions.
Addressing individuals’ fears is indeed difficult. In the face of relentless proselytising of a false narrative of fear, backed by massive media spend and behavioural psychologists intent on promoting fear, presenting the facts only goes so far. The BizNews Annual Investor Conference presentation really struck a chord with participants and subsequent viewers of the video, and we have experienced an outpouring of emotional and overwhelmingly grateful responses. I was unprepared for this and it took me some days to recover my composure.
Regarding a “coherent replacement policy”, we think the many pandemic respiratory virus epidemic guidelines, which were in place prior to the sudden implementation of this Agenda 201-like framework, were broadly consistent with the Great Barrington Declaration and PANDA’s Protocol for Reopening Society We think that policymakers were massively in breach of their responsibilities when, at the behest of deeply conflicted actors, they tore up those guidelines, which were the product of decades of public health science and discussion.
On hospital burden, the key thing to note is that targeted protection is the death minimising strategy. General suppression of disease spread maximises the shift of disease burden onto the vulnerable. Practically speaking, there are vulnerable people who are unable to self-isolate, and who will continue their work in whatever occupation. Every person who is not vulnerable (bearing in mind that that means most people, as the median infection fatality rate for under 70s is a mere 0.05% and who isolates pushes disease burden onto those vulnerable people. Non-vulnerable people isolating are therefore being selfish, not noble. If a targeted protection strategy would still have been expected to lead to hospital overburdening (a prediction we’d contest) then field hospitals could be provisioned at a fraction of the cost of lockdowns. With a lower disease burden under focused protection, we think that requirement would have been low to non-existent.
Of course, strict categorical separation of vulnerable from non-vulnerable is impossible, but any move in a direction that creates differential mobility between these groups is helpful. The imperfection of implementation is not an excuse for not making an effort.
PCR test results do not diagnose COVID. Every day the “official COVID cases” numbers are published, a lie is repeated. Application varies from very bad (high cycle thresholds, single primers, lab contamination, no reference to symptoms, lab contamination, lack of transparency, use of the Corman-Drosten primers) to less bad (low cycle thresholds or high followed by an antigen test, multiple primers, reference to symptoms, transparency on thresholds and primers, monitoring of operating false positive rates). Serology testing and testing for pre-existing T-cell immunity should have been much more prevalent and would have been very informative.
We think there’s a case for modest, temporary restrictions on large-crowd events, but even that case isn’t crystal clear. Most people have a “viral saltation” model in their heads when they think of these set-ups, and that is, of course, physically impossible.
– Public health policy should never be coercive, and that applies to target protection too.
– It is a myth that masks are worn in ICU and surgical settings to protect from viruses.
– It has been shameful that treatments have been suppressed at the behest of people interested in selling more vaccines.
We haven’t audited the behaviour of PANDA members. If they stuck to the errant public health guidelines that have prevailed, they were being selfish and irresponsible.
Nick Hudson, PANDA
Watch the presentation by Nick Hudson at the BizNews Investment Conference:
- Nick Hudson, co-founder of PANDA, speaks on the AstraZeneca vaccine and sudden resignation of Salim Abdool Karim
- Prof. Whiteside’s views on the AstraZeneca vaccine decision – ‘short-sighted and stupid’
- CR turbocharges Covid-19 vaccine roll-out; new deals, new priorities for SA. LISTEN!
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