This past year has not been easy for countless Americans. With new variants of COVID-19 emerging and the threat of World War lll perpetually haunting us, this year has yielded many unfortunate and unpredictable circumstances. The economy is slowly falling apart with the global growth being the weakest it has been in 21 years, and inflation is steadily rising. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the rise of school shootings in the U.S., and Iran’s morality police also adds to the dismal outlook this year. Overall, 2022 has left many heartbroken and uncertain about what the future brings.

Variants of COVID-19 Continue to Wreak Havoc

Though we just recovered from the original Omicron variant, two sub variants have been running rampant since the start of 2022: BA.4 and BA.5. A new booster called the bivalent booster has been developed to protect against these variants and the original COVID strain, and is recommended for everyone over 6 months old. However, this vaccine seemingly doesn’t protect against the most widely spread variant at the moment: BQ.1.1. Unfortunately, cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been skyrocketing in the U.S. throughout this past year, and Americans have been forced to try to continue life with the pandemic continuously causing distress.

War on Ukraine Drags On

Though Russia has been threatening to invade and annex Ukraine for many years, war officially broke out this year on February 24th. Putin was determined to take over Ukraine in less than a week, and though he did not prevail, Ukraine has still suffered tremendously from the continued violence that the Russians have inflicted on them.

When the U.S. learned of the crisis, President Biden responded immediately with strict sanctions on Russia and assurance that America would support Ukraine because it is our obligation to do so as their ally while they are in need. After 6 months, Biden delivered a speech to the United Nations and stated that “We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression, period.”  Announcing this to the United Nations solidified his steadfast support for Ukraine as they continue to fight for their freedom to this day. Biden also pointed out that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is worsening the global food crisis, which is one of the many reasons why the war is a worldwide issue.

Nothing Moral About the Morality Police in Iran

The Morality Police, or Guidance Patrol, has been in power in Iran since the early 1990s after the Iran-Iraq war. This task force requires Iranian women to wear their Hijabs in specific ways and resorts to violence if the rules are not followed. The biggest example of this violence during 2022 was the death of Mahsa Amini, who was beaten to death for not wearing her hijab properly. As of December 4th, Chief Officer Montazeri stated that the Morality Police have been suspended, but this comment only scratches the surface of their impact and most likely will not put a complete stop to Iran’s oppressive policies.

Mass Shootings Mar America

This year has been a hotbed of violence, with the second highest rate of mass shootings ever recorded in the United States, and the year is not over yet. In November alone, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado was shot up, along with a college field trip bus at the University of Virginia, as well as a Virginia Walmart break room. Not to mention the countless school shootings and street violence, which makes it feel like there is no end in sight to the violence.

According to CNN, “There have been more mass shootings than days so far in 2022 – a trend that’s continued each year since 2019 – underscoring the growing prevalence of gun violence in American life.”

Climate Catastrophe

The climate story has continued to go downhill this year, as Europe sizzled through the summer, famines upended Somalia and Ethiopia, Sudan flooded, China experienced a heatwave, and wildfires spread throughout the world. The most dramatic evidence of climate change was the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, which left a third of the country’s land under water. “Nearly

2,000 died and 20 million needed humanitarian aid. “We became a victim of something which we had nothing to do with,” said the country’s prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, at COP27 this month.

The United Nations has taken steps to right the ship, inking a loss and damage agreement at the COP27. Although many countries don’t think it went far enough, it is a step in the right direction. US president Biden, for his part, passed the landmark Inflation Reduction Act, to offer millions of dollars in subsidies for low-carbon technologies like electric vehicles and wind power.

Notable Celebrity Deaths

Queen Elizabeth ll, the longest reigning monarch in history, passed away in early September, after dutifully serving England since she was 27 years old. She was a dedicated and strong-willed monarch as well as a respectable and kind woman. The Queen led England through some of the country’s most treacherous moments including the Cold War, the entry and removal from the European Union, and the troubles in Ireland.

Olivia Newton John, the beloved Australian singer and star of Grease died in early August after battling cancer for 30 years. She was a renowned singer and actress who received 4 grammys and was an activist who fought to improve cancer research.

Bob Saget, a beloved actor and comedian, passed away in early January due to head trauma. Though he was best known for his wholesome role in Full House, he was the first host of America’s Funniest Home Videos and had a dark sense of humor which he unleashed during his stand-up comedy shows.

Stephen “tWitch” Boss was a famous dancer and TV persona who died by suicide on December 13th. He was best known for being the DJ on The Ellen Show, but was also a star on So You Think You Can Dance.

Leslie Jordan was a beloved actor and comedian who died in a car accident in October. He was most famous for his character on Will and Grace, and touched the hearts of so many people when he became famous on tiktok for posting humorous and uplifting videos during the pandemic.

With inflation continuing to rise and the economy in a shambles, the citizens of the globe are looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. The last few years have been difficult to say the least, and the negative ramifications continue to resonate.