Debunking Nick Hudson

joseph's picture

We were recently asked to watch "a video on what happened over the last year statistically and how fear was generated to push extreme measures onto the world".   I watched this video, and while the information being presented appears quite factual, I have some serious criticisms about the way this information is manipulated by the presenter to support a fairly outlandish conclusion.  For your interest, here's my analysis of that presentation...

Executive Summary:  

The presenter cherry-pick quotes and statistics, and omit relevant facts to weave a coherent narrative.  It is compelling and persuasive, but does not stand up to basic scrutiny.  He spins a story that would require a massive conspiracy, requiring the cooperation of all world governments, every major media outlet, virtually all medical professionals, and nearly the entire scientific community.  Yet he never speaks of that conspiracy directly, never names it, never details its purpose.  Instead, he himself employs a fear campaign to rouse us to a great struggle against some vague and unknown adversary.

I call BS.

 

For example...

 

1) Claim: Death rates are not significant

The numbers he presents for death rates are cherry-picked from early in the pandemic.  Why?  Because they support his narrative.  The data seems to show a case fatality rate between 1-2% (https://ourworldindata.org/mortality-risk-covid#the-case-fatality-rate) and an overall mortality rate somewhat below 1%.

Even by his own example from the cruise ship, roughly 1000 passengers, 12 died, that's about 1%

1% doesn't sound like much until you multiply by 6 Billion.  Then you get 60 million deaths.  Or, here on Lasqueti, that'd be 3 or 4 of our dear friends dead.  

And this analysis completely fails to account for prolonged suffering and burden on health care systems from long-covid syndrome.

That's not a "scare tactic", it is just plain prudent to identify and avoid risks.

 

But this focus on fatality rates utterly misses the point.  It is a sleight-of-hand, a distraction from the much more serious issue....

Public health officials have been consistent in warning that the catastrophe they are trying to avoid is a collapsed health care system.  If the health care system gets overwhelmed, then people will be dying of all kinds of otherwise preventable causes for lack of ICU beds, health care staff, PPE, medical devices, etc.  This is coming close to happening in Ontario right now.  And you only need look into the eyes of Premier Ford, a major opponent of lockdowns and other restrictions, to know he is making an about-face because he's scared sh**less about what's coming if they don't get the infection rate under control.  And in India, where the health care system has now basically collapsed, the excess mortality has risen to thousands per day, from Covid and from all manner of otherwise preventable causes the healthcare system can no longer aid.

 

2) Claim: no difference between Sweden and UK

No problem with the data he shows -- Sweden's admirable strategy, which was quite effective early in the pandemic, based on a strong trust-in-government and pro-social cultural norms, used recommendations and guidelines rather than enforced restrictions (similar to the approach taken here in BC during that period, actually)

What's noteworthy is where the presenter chooses to end his data set (cherry-picking the period for analysis).  In the period just after his charts end, Winter 2020, Sweden had a major surge in cases that continues to this day.  Their government and public health officials have backtracked on many of their policies, and their social experiment is now largely regarded as an unfortunate failure.  Even by their own government and citizens.

As a socialist I am sorely disappointed -- it would be such a golden example of how social cohesion and a pro-social culture creates resilience.  Alas.

 

There is one point here on which the presenter tells an blatant "untruth".  He claims "Sweden never went into lockdown".  I suspect he would simply quibble over the definition of "lockdown" if confronted by this lie, but his clear implication is that Sweden never used mandatory measures to restrict movement and businesses.  That is simply false.  Sweden abandoned their previous strategy in January, and has been under the same kinds of mandatory restrictions we see implemented elsewhere ever since.  Presumably they were forced to take these draconian measures when infection rates started getting out of control, sometime shortly following the period in which the presenters graph conveniently ends.

 

3) Claim: lockdowns don't work

Here the presenter makes another error of omission -- he neglects to mention that several countries opted for an elimination strategy, and it was incredibly effective. 

New Zealand is the most well-known example, where residents have enjoyed more or less complete freedom from any social restriction or masks, with all businesses fully operational, while maintaining a near-zero infection rate since an initial "hard lockdown" last Spring.  That is undeniable evidence that lockdowns are effective, both as a public health measure to save lives, and as an economic strategy to avoid the prolonged hardships on retail businesses we've seen here.  Same strategy worked in Australia and several other Asian countries.

Yet he completely fails to mention this inconvenient fact.  Why?  Because it would totally undermine his narrative.

 

4) Claim: "They" are using fear to ?? control us ??

This theme is woven throughout the presentation, and seems to be the core of his argument - one we've heard before.

As usual, this claim is vague -- who exactly is coordinating the fear campaign and to what end?  Are all the public health professionals and scientists part of this conspiracy, along with the media and governments worldwide?  And what is their objective in doing so?  Why are they all cooperating?

Am I part of the conspiracy?  Or am I just one of the mindless sheeple, incapable of thinking for myself?

 

But the real problem with his argument is this:  who is so afraid?   The presenter seems to want to scare me into believing there is a global conspiracy using a massive fear campaign to take away my freedoms.  But I was never afraid of Covid.  Fear has never been a reaction I felt.  I feel concern for the vulnerable, a sense of social obligation to protect vital healthcare systems, empathy for those suffering (both from the disease and the fallout from public health restriction),  but never fear.  Are you afraid?  Why is this man telling me someone is trying to make me feel afraid when I have been paying close attention, yet never felt any fear?

 

The hypocrisy here of using fear-mongering based on an unsubstantiated claim of fear-mongering would be laughable if this wasn't so serious.

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