By Contributing Writer Kate Saluti (’24)
1. Russo-Ukrainian War
Although the war had begun in 2014, on February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine and the war raged on throughout the year. Over 41,000 people have died, eight million Ukrainian people have been displaced, while many more have fled the country in response to Russia’s invasion, leading to Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. Under Vladimir Putin’s command, Russian troops have launched attack after attack on Ukraine. The Ukrainian population continues to receive financial, military, and humanitarian aid from 40 countries.
2. COVID-19 Cases Surge
COVID-19 cases continue to spread around the world and the newest variant, Omicron, becomes stronger. Hospitalizations and deaths by the virus increase every day. But to help prevent the spread, an updated vaccine booster became available this September, and according to the CDC, it is recommended that everyone over the age of six months receive the vaccine and help protect their community. Specifically in China, the population has seen a massive increase in cases of the Omnicron variant. Currently, hospitals are overwhelmed, with over 37,000 people infected currently, and an estimated one million deaths caused by this wave of COVID-19, according to Nature.com.
3. Inflation in the United States
Prices of a range of common necessities hit a new high, most specifically gas prices in the United States. Gas prices rose 10.1% according to The Inflation Calculator, with its peak in June at $5.03 per gallon. This marks the largest increase in prices over 40 years. Economists believe this massive inflation is largely caused by COVID-19, the pandemic resulting in a surge of unemployment across the country, leading to product shortages and supply-chain problems. Additionally, the Russian invasion of Ukraine led to an increase in gas and oil prices.
4. Death of Queen Elizabeth II
After serving her country for over 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II died of old age on September 8 2022. She was 96 years old on her deathbed, 71 years from when she became queen at age 25. The United Kingdom, and the rest of the world, are deeply saddened by the absence of the Queen on the throne. Elizabeth’s son, Charles III, and his wife Camilla will be crowned King and Queen on May 6, 2023.
5. School Shootings in the United States
School shootings have become a new normal in 2022. There were 49 school shootings this year and 134 people were killed. One of the most terrifying attacks was the Texas Massacre, which currently sits at the second most deadly school shooting to date. On May 24, in Uvalde Texas, Robb Elementary School was attacked by Salvador Ramos, an 18-year old former student of the school. He shot and killed 19 students and two teachers, wounded 17 others, and traumatized the country.
6. Record Floods in Pakistan
Pakistan’s monsoon season this year caused constant flash floods throughout the months of July and August. Those affected by the dangerous weather include about 15% of the population. According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, 1,739 people died and 600,000 people were displaced from their homes. Not only have the people of Pakistan suffered from drastic floods, but the season has also brought landslides and consistently heavy rainfall. Officials report that the floods are a perfect example of the desperate need for climate action and protection.
7. Roe v. Wade Overturned
On June 24, Roe v. Wade was overturned after almost 50 years of being in place, giving the states dictation over women’s abortion rights once again. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that it is a constitutional right to have an abortion. There were mixed reactions towards the event, with supporters and opposers categorizing themselves into “pro-life” or “pro-choice” ideologies.
8. U.S. Migrant Arrests Reach All-Time High
There were about 2.4 million migrant arrests this year at the southwest border of the U.S. United States Border Control officers arrested double the amount of migrants compared to 2021. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported about 72,000 people to various countries around the world, according to World News. ICE held an average of about 22,600 migrants in custody throughout 2022.
9. Elon Musk Buys Twitter
On October 28, Tesla CEO Elon Musk completed his purchase of the social media platform Twitter for $44 billion, jeopardizing the jobs of Twitter employees and laying off hundreds of workers. Musk began buying Twitter shares in January, and acquired a 9% ownership stake by April. After his removal of half the company’s working population, many employees left the corporation due to resentment of Musk and his tactics. Musk has since alluded to major improvements on the platform, highlighting more encouraged free speech. Twitter users are split with supporting and opposing views of these changes.
10. Protection for Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S.
On December 13, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a bill into law to protect same-sex marriage in the United States. Before the signing, the Respect for Marriage Act was passed by the House of Representatives, with a vote of 258 to 169. Through his actions, Biden has solidified and made clear his opinion for gay rights for the country.