Interfor International - Weekly Security Matters Digest - December 14

Interfor International – Weekly Security & Covid Digest – December 14

Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest – December 14, 2021

Global Security Matters

  • As tensions in Eastern Europe continue to rise, the Kremlin announced it may deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe.  Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has called on NATO to engage with Russia to prevent this escalation.
  • The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a warning about a new cyber vulnerability which could affect much of the internet.  The vulnerability is linked to Log4j software which runs in the background of several online applications. 
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged his government is committed to ensuring natural gas continues to flow through Ukraine.  Scholz aims to prevent Russia from using the recently completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline to cripple Ukraine’s economy.
  • Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s foreign minister, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed on a need to fortify their countries’ alliance given recent aggression from China and North Korea.  The partnership hopes to increase Japan’s defense capabilities.  

Covid-19 Updates

Total Deaths: 5,311,408 (797,208 in United States)

At least one dose administered: 57.6% globally (United States: 72% of population)

  • A new US Covid-19 milestone: Almost 800,000 Americans have died of Covid, more than any other nation. The US has also reached more than 50 million confirmed cases.
  • Pfizer’s updated results for its experimental treatment for Covid-19 showed it cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by 89%, if given to high-risk adults within days of their first symptoms.
  •  Health authorities in Europe are warning of a sharp increase in Omicron cases, adding to an existing surge from the Delta variant.
  • China reported its first case of the omicron Covid variant. Meanwhile, The United Kingdom reports the first publicly confirmed death globally from the variant.
  • The Pentagon is discussing the possibility of mandating a COVID-19 booster. Currently, the armed services have mandated that active-duty personnel and reserve personnel be fully vaccinated.
  • Russian authorities have backed away from introducing some restrictions for the unvaccinated that were announced a month ago and elicited public outrage.