Outside Iona

Jocelyn Arroyo-Ariza, News Editor

Throughout our hectic student lives, we should always remain aware of what is happening around us. In this column, I find some of the most significant things around us and provide you with a small blurb and nitty-gritty details. Here are some of the major events that have been taking place: 


General COVID-19 Update.  

Free COVID-19 test kits have made available to the American public. To receive a package of four tests, one must visit COVIDTests.gov, which redirects users to the U.S. Postal Service. After ordering, an email will be sent to confirm the request. Packages are expected to arrive in 7 to 12 days. Although some have reported problems with the website on the initial day concerning the address verification tool wrongly enforcing the four tests per household on apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings, there have been limited issues. Experts warn against sharing a single test as it is antihygienic and generates erroneous results.  

The Omicron variant now accounts for more than a quarter of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. Data indicates that the Omicron variant may have seen its peak in the areas where it first hit such as New York, but in some areas, there have been surges. 14 states saw cases drop at least 10% in comparison to last week, while 26 states saw cases increase 10%.  


Information from NBC News, Business Insider, and CNN. 


Senate Democrats fail to pass voting reform. 

Last Wednesday, Democrats failed to weaken the filibuster in their effort to pass voting reform. Two voting bills were proposed which were intended to strengthen voting rights protections in time for this year’s mid-term elections. Senate Democrats hoped to pass legislation to end partisan gerrymandering, increase disclosure requirements on dark money, expand voting and declare Election Day a federal holiday. The first bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, was a compromise after Senator Joe Manchin said he would not support a more expensive House bill, the For the People Act. Named after the late Representative John Lewis, the second bill would restore a provision in the Voting Rights Act that was formally rejected by the Supreme Court. 

Initially, Republicans blocked the Democrats’ move to advance the voting rights passage by employing the filibuster. Senate Majority Chuck Schumer moved to revamp the filibuster rule by lowering the 60-vote threshold to 50. Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema sided with Republicans rejected changing the filibuster that would have allowed the election legislation to pass by a simple majority vote after a long debate. 


Information from Reuters, Politico, and NBC News.  


President Biden’s news conference to commemorate first year in office. 

To mark his first year in the presidency, President Biden held a news conference. In the conference, he addressed the Biden administration accomplishments such as the Build Back Better Act. In addition, President Biden addressed the nation’s most pressing issues such as inflation and the pandemic. Speaking for more than 90 minutes, President Biden took several questions from reporters. The president asserted that he did not overpromise and defended Vice President Kamala Harris, affirming that she would be on the 2024 ticket despite criticism.  


Information from CNN and CBS News.  



General COVID-19 Update. 





Senate Democrats fail to pass voting reform. 





President Biden’s news Conference to commemorate his first year in office.