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.  

In the beginning of the month, the U.S. COVID death toll reached 900,000. It is estimated that more than 2,600 American die each day from the virus. This death rate surpasses those of other wealthy nations. States surrounding the Southwest and Great Lakes have reported the highest numbers. Cases of the Omicron variant are declining. Last month, the Omicron surge broke recordings with many fearing for the worse. However, cases of Omicron have sharply declined. Compared to first week of January, COVID cases have been at a 90% decrease. 

Since Dec. 22, Paxlovid, an oral Covid treatment, has been authorized for emergency use. The five-day treatment has been in critically short supply. Though the Biden administration purchased 20 million Paxlovid courses, half of it according to Pfizer will not be delivered until the end of June with the rest being released by Sept. 30. Only 265,000 Paxlovid courses have been given to state health departments. A few states such as Michigan, Minnesota, and New Mexico have established systems that limit access, while others have issued a more lenient approach recommending prescribing the pills to those who can potentially benefit from it.  


Information from the New York Times, the New York Post and NBC News.  


2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.  

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics began last Friday. Beijing becomes the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The decision to hold the games in Beijing has caused controversy. Many have protested in light of China’s human rights records, from the treatment of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang to its restrictions on freedoms in Hong Kong. In addition, China has received criticism because of the silencing of Chinese tennis star and Olympian Peng Shuai after she accused a former top party leader of sexual assault. In December, the United States declared a diplomatic boycott of the Games, which was followed by allies such as Britain, Australia and Canada. Last week a coalition of more than 200 organizations called for more nations to join the diplomatic boycott. China has responded to the criticism by condemning the West for politicizing the Olympics. The opening ceremony closed with the Uyghur cross-country skier Dinigeer Yilamujiang lighting the Olympic cauldron.  


Information from CNN and Reuters.  


Ukraine Crisis 

On Sunday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan cautioned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could come at any day. Russia has placed around 70% of the combat power that would be necessary for a full-scale invasion of the Ukraine. The U.S. has threatened severe sanctions against Russia if it were to invade. It is estimated that the Ukraine could face 5,000 to 25,000 casualties if a full-scale invasion were to occur.  


Information from CNBC and NPR.  



General COVID-19 Update.  





2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.  




Ukraine Crisis.