2020, in 12 photographs


Dean Baquet, The Times’s executive editor, believes that 2020 will go down as a signature year in history, alongside years like 1968, 1945 and 1865. “It will long be remembered and studied as a time when more than 1.5 million people globally died during a pandemic, racial unrest gripped the world, and democracy itself faced extraordinary tests,” he writes.
Those words come from Dean’s introduction to The Times’s annual Year in Pictures feature. Here, my colleagues on The Morning and I have chosen a dozen of those pictures that we think best summarize 2020. But we obviously have room here for only a fraction of the year’s photographs — so I encourage you to check out the full selection.
As you do, ask yourself which pictures you would have selected if you had to pick only 12 to sum up 2020.
Early in the year, the virus hit Western Europe harder than any other place in the world. In March, a coronavirus patient was examined at his home in Cenate Sotto, Italy.
The pandemic forced people to find new ways to socialize. Circles painted on the grass at Domino Park in Brooklyn helped people spend time safely outdoors in May.
Donald Trump became only the fourth elected president in the last century not to win re-election, joining Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. Trump departed Air Force One in August after returning from a campaign rally.
Joe Biden struggled badly early in the Democratic primaries, only to rally to win the nomination and the presidency. He prayed at the Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines in January.
Climate change wrought destruction on the planet in multiple ways during 2020. In Azusa, Calif., a wildfire burned more than 4,200 acres during the most active wildfire year on record for the West Coast.
The killing of George Floyd in May inspired mass demonstrations against police brutality across the country. In Minneapolis, officers confronted protesters on May 31.
Protesters marched in New York in June as anger spread across the country.
Around the world, people spent far more time at home this year than usual. In São Paulo, Brazil, residents gathered at their windows in March to protest the government’s pandemic response.
The pandemic led to a sharp economic downturn in much of the world. In May, people lined up for food distribution at a church in Brooklyn.
More than 1.5 million people around the world have died from Covid complications. Mourners gathered in April at a cemetery in Brazil where workers were busy digging lines of open graves.
Amid illness, death and separation in 2020, people also experienced great joys — even if they sometimes required adaptation. In April, Precious Anderson, a Covid-19 patient, was shown her newborn baby for the first time with the help of a live video feed at a hospital in Brooklyn.

Again, you can find the full Year in Pictures here.

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