Covid update: The latest phase of the ruling class offensive

Photo: Keep Our NHS Public

By Mark Buckley

The current resurgence in the Covid-19 is driven by the policy of the main Western imperialist powers.

Socialist Action previously reported that both Biden and Johnson in the US and Britain had effectively washed their hands of the crisis and decided to do nothing to prevent virus spreading. They have been joined by the bulk of the remaining imperialist powers, the partial exceptions being Germany and Japan.

The consequences in terms of soaring new case numbers are clear to see.

The latest reading for the 7-day rolling average of new cases worldwide is a staggering 1.8 million per day. Of this total, the combined aggregate of the US, the European Union and Britain is 1.495 million.

This is the vast majority of the latest global total despite being just a fraction of the world population (about 1 in 10 of the global total). It is clearly a response to the latest policy junking any meaningful restrictions to the circulation of the virus. This is doubling down on the failed policy of relying solely on vaccines.

In the US, Biden has left it to the State Governors to tackle the crisis, knowing full well that the anti-mask, anti-vax hard right Republican Governors such as DeSantis in Florida are responsible for creating national epicentres for the virus.

In Britain, Johnson’s response has been PR-driven announcements on wholly inadequate ventilators for schools, about 2% of the total needed, and priority testing for 100,000 essential workers. Given that the NHS alone employs 1.2 million people, more than half of them clinically qualified, this too is a drop in the ocean. The real content of his response to surging cases, hospitalisations and deaths is removing any measures to inhibit the spread of the virus. PCR testing is being abandoned for the bulk of the population as it is for overseas travellers.

There can be no doubt that the situation is deteriorating rapidly, despite all the assertion about Omicron being milder. It is simply irrelevant, given that the pace of transmission overwhelms any fractionally less lethal effects.

The NHS, along with other key sectors of the economy such as transport is already under severe strain. Chris Hopson, the CEO of NHSProviders sets out the crisis in the NHS in some detail.

Starmer has maintained his vow of silence and refuses to criticise the government for any of this. This silence is echoed across large sections of the labour movement and even the left.

There is currently only a minority which is willing to oppose outright even aspects of the government policy, and fewer still who understand that this is a gigantic ruling class offensive.

However, there are honourable and significant exceptions, and both the scale of the attacks as well as the catastrophic impact of government policy is leading to some radicalisation. The most important task of socialists here is link up with every aspect of the resistance and radicalisation, to unify and broaden it. That is, standing up for the working class and the oppressed.