The US has the highest total number of cases and deaths of any country: The virus has killed more than 323,000 Americans and sickened more than 18 million. Since October, the country’s daily death toll has soared from about 700 to over 2,600.
Below are some the most striking images photographers have captured of the pandemic’s impact around the world.
China recorded its first coronavirus death on January 11.
Two months later, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. In Italy, an early hotspot, grim images emerged of severely ill patients in hospitals. Videos also showed people singing from balconies during lockdown.
By late March, 2.6 billion people were under lockdown worldwide. New York City quickly became the first US epicentre.
Images showed city workers preparing mass graves for unclaimed bodies of people who’d died of COVID-19.
New York City saw so much death that excess bodies had to be stored in temporary refrigerated tractor trailers.
Cases rose more slowly in San Francisco. Visitors to Dolores Park gathered within drawn circles to maintain social distancing.
The virus has proved deadliest when it spreads among people living or working in crowded, enclosed spaces, like nursing homes.
As hospitals restricted visitors, and in some cases banned them, relatives of dying COVID-19 patients had to say goodbye via phones and iPads.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, quickly emerged as the authoritative face of the US government’s COVID-19 response.
President Donald Trump drew criticism for refusing to wear a mask in public and downplaying the threat of the virus.
As statewide lockdowns led to soaring unemployment, Americans lined up in droves at food banks.
When a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd in May, an estimated 26 million people protested in the streets. The mostly masked protesters didn’t drive a major COVID-19 surge, according to researchers.
By June, nations like Spain had begun to ease lockdown restrictions. On its first day of reopening, a Spanish opera house played to a crowd of nearly 2,300 plants.
In the US, 93% of households with school-aged children reported they engaged in some form of remote learning. Some students still graduated in person, though.
In July, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced he’d tested positive for COVID-19. By then, Brazil had become a coronavirus epicentre.
By October, more than 27,000 Indigenous Brazilians had contracted COVID-19. An article in The Lancet criticised the government’s inaction and failure to provide indigenous tribes with adequate masks and medical supplies.
President Trump announced he’d contracted COVID-19 at the beginning of October, less than a week after he hosted a nomination ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. A reception was held indoors.
Coronavirus cases began to surge anew in the US in early October. To avoid crowds on Election Day, millions of Americans voted early or by mail.
Despite mounting cases worldwide, many people continued to congregate for holiday festivities throughout the fall and winter, like this crowd in India.
The Hasidic Jewish community in New York City continues to gather in groups for funerals and religious services. One indoor Hasidic wedding had thousands of guests.
As hospitals filled with patients in December, a survey found that 76% of healthcare workers reported exhaustion and burnout.
By December 17, almost 20% of US hospitals with intensive-care units had reported that ICU beds were 95% full or more.
On that same day, the US death toll topped 300,000, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Hope came earlier this month, however, as nations began vaccinating their most vulnerable residents. England was the first Western nation to authorise a vaccine.
By mid-December, the US had authorised two coronavirus vaccines: one from a Pfizer-BioNTech collaboration, and the other from Moderna.