THE Omicron strain of the Coronavirus now accounts for more than 73% of new US cases of Covid-19, up from 13% just a week ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.
Figures for the week ending on December 18, released on Monday, show that Omicron has become the dominant Covid-19 variant in the US.
The Omicron statistics come on the eve of President Joe Biden announcing new steps to fight the spread of Covid-19. Major US cities are already tightening pandemic restrictions. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced on Monday that the city will require proof of vaccination to enter indoor businesses, while Washington DC reimposed a mask mandate and ordered city employees to get booster shots.
White House medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci on Sunday predicted ‘a tough few weeks to months’ as Omicron spreads rapidly across the US, and Biden has warned of a ‘winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated’.
The US ruling class, already in a huge economic crisis and now facing both state bankruptcy and a rampant Omicron, is looking for a major diversion – and Russia is their main target.
Yesterday, the Biden administration issued a warning that it has a ‘four-week window’ to stave off a Russian invasion of Ukraine!
US officials say Biden has ordered his national security team to pursue a detailed plan to deter any invasion of Ukraine. It is said to include pre-emptive action! The US has already consulted its allies over a NATO intervention, and is drafting new sanctions against Russia.
These include the ‘nuclear option’ of banning Russian state-owned banks from holding currency accounts in the US, and barring Russia from the banking transfer system SWIFT.
Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, has meanwhile dismissed the talk of a ‘four week window’ to stop an invasion.
Last week, Russia’s foreign ministry revealed a proposed draft security agreement with the US and Nato, including asking Nato to bar former Soviet states such as Ukraine from joining the alliance.
Konstantin Gavrilov, a Russian diplomat in Vienna, said Moscow and Nato had reached a ‘moment of truth’.
He said: ‘The conversation needs to be serious and everyone in Nato understands perfectly well, despite their strength and power, that concrete political action needs to be taken, otherwise the alternative is a military-technical and military response from Russia.’
In 2014, Biden was reportedly overruled by Obama when he took a strong line on sanctions and arming Ukraine following Russia reclaiming the Crimea. Officials said his current response is more proactive and robust.
An adviser to Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, told CNN: ‘Urgent air and missile defence technology is needed to confront an all-out Russian attack, and this was requested over a month ago.’
Russia is still waiting for Washington’s reply to security proposals that the Kremlin submitted last week, which outlined demands about limits to NATO expansion and troop deployment.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov told journalists on Monday that the Kremlin had not yet decided whether it would pull out of a moratorium on short-range missiles in Europe, should the US and NATO not accept the proposed agreements.
Last Friday, Russian officials publicly shared drafts of proposals they had sent to Washington. The documents call for the US-led military bloc to agree not to station armed forces in European countries that were not members of the bloc in 1997, which would exclude former Warsaw Pact countries.
Russia is also asking for written guarantees that NATO will not expand any further into former Soviet countries including Ukraine.
Workers in the EU, the UK and the US must condemn any US-backed military action in the Ukraine Black Sea area.
They must declare that the enemy is at home and that any attempt by the US-UK axis to stir up a new war in the Ukraine will be met by general strikes at home to bring an end to capitalism and go forward to socialism!