When the world learned about a then-nameless novel coronavirus on the last day of 2019, few could have predicted how it would shape the year about to begin. In less than three months, that disease, COVID-19, has claimed more than 8,000 lives and changed millions more. Countries and regions around the world have taken unprecedented actions, from citywide lockdowns and mass quarantines to sweeping travel and business restrictions.
This issue explores our strange new normal—in China, where COVID-19 still casts a long shadow; in Europe, where health systems are struggling to weather extraordinary challenges; and in the U.S., where a mismanaged political response lulled many into a sense of security now shattered by school and work closures, lost wages and social separation. In words and images, these stories detail the disparate responses—medical, technical and personal—required to slow and halt COVID-19, and, most important, how we can all emerge on the other side.
A health care worker wears protective gear at the San Giovanni Bosco Hospital in Turin, Italy, on Feb. 27
Stefano Guidi—Getty Images
For all of us at TIME, it is in moments like this that we feel our greatest sense of responsibility to provide trusted information and guidance to our audience of more than 100 million people around the world…Read more
A woman consults a nurse at a walk-up COVID-19 testing booth outside Yangji Hospital in Seoul
Ed Jones—AFP/Getty Images
Smartphone apps, data analytics and artificial intelligence all make finding and treating people with an infectious disease far more efficient than ever before… Read more
Trump and Fauci, at microphone, address reporters in the Rose Garden on March 13
Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, an ominous question has hung in the air: How would he handle a truly serious crisis? Now we know. The novel coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 200,000 people… Read more
A man talks to another man through a makeshift barricade, built to control entry and exit to a residential compound, in Wuhan, China, on March 8.
Many people blame the coronavirus epidemic on globalization, and say that the only way to prevent more such outbreaks is to de-globalize the world. Build walls, restrict travel, reduce trade… Read more
A motorcyclist wearing a protective mask shows his identification at a check point as he leaves a neighborhood in Beijing, China, on March 18, 2020.
Qilai Shen—Bloomberg via Getty Images
As cases of COVID-19 stabilize in China and soar across the U.S., Middle East and Europe, the Beijing government has been busy recasting China as a sanctuary from the deadly virus, which has so far sickened 169,000… Read more
This image obtained on March 12 shows a scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab, SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19, the virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S.
National Institutes of Health/AFP/Getty Images
Looking at data from countries with robust testing systems does support the idea that the disease’s case fatality rate may be lower than 4%… Read more
Judith Haeusler—Getty Images
In February, when Jacob came home from an international trade show in Arizona with a cough, he wasn’t concerned. He slept in a separate room so that his hacking wouldn’t disturb his wife, Caitlin. But within days… Read more
Businesses are being forced to close as social distancing to avoid COVID-19 takes hold
The financial crash is hitting hourly workers who only get paid if they show up to work, but it’s also creating a quandary for small businesses whose income has dried up while bills roll in…Read more
Scarcity predictably gives rise to hoarding, denying other people their share of finite goods
A coronavirus quarantine is not easy. It amounts to two weeks of house arrest for a disease you may not have. Your fortnight of confinement is done entirely in the service of others, protecting them from possible infection… Read more
A man wearing a facemask walks past the Rain Vortex display at the airport in Singapore on Feb. 27, 2020.
ROSLAN RAHMAN—AFP/Getty Images
Since she learned of the coronavirus outbreak, Amy Ho’s daily routine has gotten a bit more complicated. Coming home now involves sanitizing her shoes, washing her hands with soap and water, taking off her medical mask… Read more
The author and her mother, photographed in Oregon in the 1980s.
Courtesy Nicole Chung
Businesses, basketball games, Broadway shows, baby showers—every area of life has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s impossible to go an hour without hearing of another cancellation… Read more
A man wears a face mask as he walks inside Grand Central Station in New York City on Mar. 8, 2020.
Kena Betancur—AFP/Getty Images
Cheryl Man is usually the only one wearing a face mask on her New York City subway train. She notices this, but other people on the train notice, too. Usually she just gets odd stares from other commuters… Read more
A temporary emergency room is set up in Brescia to alleviate strain on Italy’s health care system, on March 13
Francesca Volpi—Bloomberg/Getty Images
The coronavirus outbreak is the latest in a long line of crises that have thrust the E.U. into existential despair… Read more
A DoorDash Inc. delivery person carries an order bag outside of a DoorDash Kitchens location in Redwood City, California, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019
David Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty Images
An epidemic is a test not just of our mettle but our morals. In a time of lockdowns and quarantines, restaurant closings and shuttered schools, the temptation is often to bend the rules… Read more
A tent at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, MA on March 14, 2020.
Barry Chin—The Boston Globe/Getty Images
As doctors in the U.S. have watched Italy’s health care system buckle under the sudden strain of the coronavirus, the magnitude of the problems that could be heading their way have begun to sink in… Read more
Slim pickings: In a time of crisis, we control what little we can.
Alan Powdrill—Getty Images
There’s nothing quite like the behavior of panicky humans—especially when it comes to hoarding. Let a blizzard approach or a hurricane churn toward shore, and we descend on stores, buying up more batteries, bottled water… Read more
As millions of children are displaced from their schools due to the coronavirus, a sub-crisis has risen for American parents: What will the kids do all day? The widespread school closures have sent a ripple effect into parent… Read more