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Last week, the Daily Maverick published an article in which NGO GroundUp accused BizNews of spreading misinformation about Covid-19. After a lengthy search, the offending BizNews article turned out to be the PANDA right of reply to a GroundUp ‘hit piece’ on the organisation and its chairman Nick Hudson.
“We published the PANDA right of reply as it was well-argued and referenced, and because the publications attacking it refused to do so,” writes Alec Hogg. “In other words, GroundUp’s headline-grabbing claim that BizNews is a purveyor of fake Covid news is based on point 4 of a lengthy and clearly marked PANDA ‘right of reply’. Seriously.”
BizNews always aims to give both sides of any story so that our readers can make up their own minds. As such, BizNews founder Alec Hogg published the entire affair on the site and sent out a notice to readers.
Community member Greg Salter responded with criticism of Nick Hudson, asking Hogg to please “fold the PANDA hand”. As is customary, Hudson was given an opportunity to reply to Salter’s claims. What follows is an engaging exchange with points for all to consider.
I write this out of immense respect for you and your body of work over decades.
I don’t understand what you are doing.
You’ve gone all-in on Nick Hudson and PANDA, notwithstanding immense evidence that they are wrong about so many facts.
They presented at your conference that Covid has the same mortality rate as the flu.
That is just not true.
They’ve promoted Ivermectin as a miracle cure, based on an initial study which was a FRAUD. The patients in the placebo group had already died of Covid at the inception of the study.
The meta-analysis of Ivermectin falls apart with this study removed, as the authors have subsequently implored.
And, now we learn, that you positioned Hudson as an actuary, but he has not worked as an actuary. He doesn’t have actuarial experience. He’s a private equity guy.
As you’ve taught me so much about Buffett’s wisdom, I thought I’d play back two of his points to you.
“When you find a cockroach in your kitchen, never forget it has a family.” (i.e. walk away from bad situations. Don’t throw good money after bad.)
“A reputation is built in a lifetime and can be lost in a minute.”
Of course, your defence of different viewpoints is admirable and right. But, when a viewpoint is objectively false, it is just damaging to your brand and reputation to give it a megaphone.
Would you allow flat-earthers on BizNews to make their case? Would you make them guest speakers at your conference?
I hope not.
At INSEAD in France they run an exercise involving Poker. At first it feels like a game, a welcome relief from the case studies. The purpose, however, is to teach you the secret of the greatest poker players.
They don’t win more often. They lose less when they lose. They get away from bad hands.
They don’t go all-in on losers.
Fold the PANDA hand. Please.
Nick Hudson’s reply was as follows:
It was refreshing to see a letter of criticism of PANDA that went further than a broad allegation of “misinformation” or “disinformation”. I’ve responded to several of these requesting specific examples, and without fail, the complainant runs for cover without providing any.
Unfortunately, my pleasure was diminished by some false allegations. PANDA is of the opinion that a failure to treat early has caused many deaths and that this is emblematic of public health’s repudiation of all prior pandemic respiratory virus guidelines. Panicking was the wrong thing to do. However, PANDA is not in the business of recommending particular treatment protocols. We make several available on our website, along with this message. There is difficulty in demonstrating clear efficacy of any treatment (Ivermectin and vaccination alike) when the fatality rate is so low and protocols for diagnosis so deeply flawed.
Regarding the influenza-Covid comparison, the global infection fatality rate is approximately 0.14%. For healthy under-70s, the IFR is less than 0.01%. This puts it squarely in the flu ballpark—probably presenting lower risk than flu for the median risk individual.
I’ve had plenty of experience in data science, doing very deep statistical analyses on massive datasets, including the difficult work of establishing causality in very complex structures. I didn’t work “as an actuary” because I had left the traditional fields of insurance and pensions long before qualifying. However, my papers have been published (and received awards) in multiple journals, including actuarial ones, and I have presented to actuarial societies, conventions, and classes around the world. One of my papers (“Gentlemen prefer bonds” in the Journal of Modern Corporate Finance) was still required reading for the UK actuarial syllabus last time I looked, nearly 20 years after its publication. But this is beside the point.
As the main spokesperson of PANDA, I try to present a balanced account of the views of the great many scientists who serve PANDA, and who are unable to state their views publicly because of the intense cancel culture that pervades around the propagandised false narrative of Covid. It is a pity to see a reader of BizNews entangled in that culture.
All is not well in vaccine land. Manipulation of the manufacturer trials is clear, they refuse to disclose the information that would resolve the issues raised by critics, and it now appears that key studies were withheld from regulators when they were approving emergency use authorisation. I sent out this chart for Singapore this morning, and am somewhat amused that nobody in South African regulatory environment seems the least bit concerned about the phenomenon it depicts, now evident in more than 90 countries. I take that as confirmation that the regulatory capture by vaccine stakeholders is complete. Recent steps to throttle antibody test availability, preventing people from being able to establish whether or not they stand to benefit from vaccination, was the last straw for me. The system is sick, and toeing the line of a political agenda.
I invite you to spend more time on our website, www.pandata.org. That will give you a more accurate perspective on our actual views, which are all carefully referenced to primary science and data. Here is a categorized selection of some of our resources:
Children and Young People
All Risk, Zero Benefit (Video by Kate Wand)
Presentations and PANDACasts
Greg’s reply is below with Nick’s responses to each point in bold:
I appreciate your comprehensive reply.
Regrettably, my concerns remain unanswered.
- Mortality rate in South Africa
To be clear, I am querying the mortality outcome for Covid vs a typical flu season here, where we live and where you’ve made your comments, in South Africa. Hudson’s response: The South African outcome is particularly bad relative to other countries—one of the very worst in the world on an age-adjusted basis, and even after adjusting for our obesity rate. As the paper I linked you to demonstrated, this is not because Covid is intrinsically worse than the flu. I contend that our bad outcome arose from our policy response being abysmal. One key driver was failure to treat early. I’ve met multiple young doctors who believed the misrepresentations of media and were scared for their own lives. But there are multiple components to the iatrogenic death story. The key thing is that countries who didn’t panic (such as Sweden and Finland, the latter of a brief whoopsie), did not experience material excess deaths. That much is clear.
a) Emile Stipp, the Chief Actuary of Discovery, stated in a BizNews interview with Alec that the mortality rate is “8 to 10 times higher than influenza” in a person that is not vaccinated against Covid. Hudson’s response: Influenza-like illnesses (the broad category is required as limited testing is done) kill around 40,000 a year in South Africa, so that figure sounds implausible, and it is also a mortality rate absent early treatment, so not comparing like for like. In the past we have always treated ILIs early. Discovery has been pro-narrative and sucking up to government since the start of this, so I take everything they say with a pinch of salt. Witness their vaccine mandate, which, by their own admission, has no basis in medical or epidemiological science, hence their justification on “moral” grounds.
b) The South African Medical Research Council reports more than 250,000 excess deaths in South Africa over the last 16 months, 85-95% of which were judged to be Covid related. This compares to around 10,000 influenza deaths per annum. Not remotely the same numbers. Hudson’s response: I don’t trust numbers from the SAMRC. They are a captured organisation and the familial relationship between Harry Moultrie, whose model overestimated hospital bed demand by a factor of 13x to 17x, causing vast squandering of scarce resources, and Tom Moultrie, who works on the excess death study, makes that worse. We have caught them monkeying about with the baseline to exaggerate excess deaths. If they’re prepared to do that, who knows what else they’re up to. The claim of 85%-95% is unsupported by any publicly available analysis, except a quite derisory one that makes the basic error of correlating total excess deaths (instead of unexplained ones) with cases. Even if they were right, it’s irrelevant to our contentions that the policy responses have been faulty. (Lockdowns are pro-contagion, cloth masks don’t stop viruses spreading, droplet and fomite theory was always a bogus notion, and so on.) This idea that a high mortality rate justifies tearing up pandemic respiratory virus guidelines and persisting with unprecedented practices that don’t work is nonsensical. Pandemic guideline assume much higher mortality than has been evident here.
c) Life expectancy at birth, which has moved up gradually over the last decade and a half (notwithstanding annual flu seasons), has experienced a marked trend reversal, reducing by 3.5 years. Hudson’s response: There is no way of knowing what life expectancy at birth is. That comes from models that make assumptions. If those assumptions adjust for the presence of Covid they are clearly wrong, given the modest addition to mortality presented by Covid now that the bulk of the population (70-80%) have recovered and enjoy robust, broad and durable immunity far superior to anything any vaccine could deliver.
In light of these facts, why do you not acknowledge that the South African mortality experience from Covid has been materially worse than a normal flu season? Hudson’s response: I have been pointing out from the start that South Africa’s persistent bed-wetting and pursuit of draconian and authoritarian policies not supported by science and data would be deadly, and it has been.
One further angle on this. Regarding your own wide personal circle (family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances)
- Have the number of Covid deaths been equal to a normal flu season? Hudson’s response: Not really. Only one of the official Covid deaths in my circle appears to have been involved Covid, and even then in a 77-yr-old man who was on death’s door owing to heart problems.
- Have the number of Covid deaths been equal to ANY flu season in your lifetime? Hudson’s response: No. Iatrogenic death on this scale definitely surpasses any flu season during my life.
- If no to both above, has it been close?
My answers are No, No, and No.
- Impact of fraudulent study on Ivermectin positioning
With respect, you did not address my point at all. Hudson’s response: There are dozens of positive studies on Ivermectin, which are not invalidated by one bad one. Note too that the initial study that poured cold water on HCQ was completely fraudulent, down to the researchers not even existing. The clear propaganda against early treatment obviously reflects a political agenda of securing and maintaining emergency use authorisation for experimental vaccines. I’ve even heard SAMRC staffers denying that Vitamin D deficiency is a problem in viral infections, which is quite something.
My point was in reference to wisdom from Buffett. He disinvests from companies where a fraud is uncovered, on the basis that “a cockroach has a family”. That one fraud is often associated with many other bad practices.
A pivotal Ivermectin study has been shown to be a fraud. A meta-analysis of Ivermectin studies has been retracted. Hudson’s response: The meta-analysis will be reissued, with modestly lower efficacy findings.
How has this altered your positioning of Ivermectin as an effective treatment against Covid? Hudson’s response: My position of very modest enthusiasm for that particular drug hasn’t altered. On the one hand I note multiple mechanisms of action that stack up, multiple studies that show benefits and researchers who have little to gain and much to lose promoting it. On the other hand, there are difficulties demonstrating efficacy for such a low mortality rate disease, most of the trials involve cocktails and I think many of the doctors in the Ivermectin promotion camp absorbed their first-hand experience in the context of a personal believe system that included the notion that Covid was a deadly virus, which it isn’t.
My perception is that it has not altered it at all.
These are the points which I consider to be doing reputational damage to BizNews. Hudson’s response: I could not agree less. Obsessing with the mortality risk and ignoring the huge range of PANDA’s perspectives on Covid is a bit weird, to put it bluntly. And, as Alec’s Buffett quote implores, a business should have zero tolerance for damaging its own reputation. Hudson’s response: It is the reputations of the many media outlets that have abandoned their role of keeping government in check, and in many cases accepted funding from the likes of Gates and Soros, whose reputations will have been destroyed when the world regains its senses and recovers from this mass psychosis they have been so instrumental in causing.
Nick Hudson also added:
Hi Greg. I’ve responded in line to your questions. An overall comment is that you are missing the big point. Covid was propagandised as an airborne Ebola that threatened everyone. This was a grand lie. It is more like a flu that threatens few.
You’re harping on very tangential issues. I’d urge you to have a close watch of ‘The UGLY Truth about the COVID-19 Lockdowns’. This has been viewed more than a million times and no objections have been raised to its heavily referenced factual content. Every one of its 67 slides is a searing indictment of the global response led by the WHO, funded by pharmaceutical stakeholders that have made bundles of money at the costs of billions of people. If you find something wrong, please let me know, but if not, I’d urge you to think hard about what it is that you are actually trying to say here.
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