The virus has not given up. Western governments have

By Mark Buckley

There is a barrage of propaganda that the Covid-19 pandemic is coming to an end. In reality it is the governments in the Western imperialist centres who have almost completely given up on any pretence at trying to combat the virus. Once again the results are catastrophic and there is no end in sight.

Globally, the level of over 800,000 new cases per day recorded at the end of December last year approximately matched the previous peak for cases in April. In just under 4 weeks, new cases have quadrupled and are now running at 3.3 million per day at the time of writing.

Geographically this is a broad-based new upsurge with initially North America and Europe leading the way. Only the African continent is currently exempt from the upsurge. Claims about the ‘mildness’ of the Omicron are entirely misplaced as the trends in new deaths is also upward. These reached a recent low-point at just under 6,000 deaths on January 6 and are now up to 8,000 deaths a day.

It is clear from the data that the widespread claims in the Western imperialist countries about the imminent ending of the pandemic are not only false but also entirely self-serving.

The ruling classes in the imperialist centres have taken the view that they are no longer willing to implement any significant measures to inhibit the spread of the virus. The drive to give freedom to a deadly virus was led by Biden and Johnson.  It is also the centrepiece of an entire strategy to significantly increase the rate of exploitation of the working class to bolster profits, and is accompanied by a vast array of reactionary, repressive and racist measures to defend their unpopular positions. It may well cost both their jobs, as, despite all assertions, these policies are massively unpopular. But they have both been faithful servants of capital, and frontmen for its offensive. 

They are politically turning back the clock to before the late 1960s. In the US white supremacists are setting the agenda, on masks, vaccines, voting rights, abortion rights and on racism in general. In Britain their equivalents determine government policy, forces inspired by Enoch Powell and the far right of the Tory party. They are using the upsurge in inflation (caused by a Western capitalist refusal to invest, hire or train workers during earlier part of the pandemic) to drive down living standards.

As they have abandoned their own populations to the virus, the Western leaders have mounted an international campaign against the countries maintaining a Zero Covid policy. Their ‘success’ can be measured by the upsurge in new cases in both Australia and New Zealand, from a fraction of the level seen in Europe and North America.

Naturally their main target is China, which is simultaneously proving the superiority of socialism in both public health and in economic performance. There is a daily torrent of criticism of China’s commitment to its own Zero Covid strategy, which appears to remain militant and steadfast.

With the Covid-19 outbreak first reported in Wuhan, many Western commentators and policy advisers openly hoped it would be ‘China’s Chernobyl’, a disaster so grave it could help bring down the entire system.

Instead, it is changing the political and economic system in the Western countries for the worse, under the hammer blows of a relentless ruling class offensive. Unfortunately, this is set to continue until there is any fightback.