put off plans that had been years in the making, like travel and volunteer work. Inside nursing homes, Covid-19 outbreaks became all too regular, with more than 163,000 residents and workers dying of the virus.

Delivery drivers dealt with health risks, theft and assault. Airline workers who weren’t furloughed had to confront passengers who refused to wear masks.

Perhaps no group of workers felt as isolated as those in medical care. In the spring, hospital staff around the country dealt with the gut-wrenching horrors of a steep surge in cases. But the stress didn’t relent when the case numbers did, and it grew again as infections rose in the fall. Doctors and nurses agonized over putting their families at risk, and dealt with intense burnout and pay cuts. Some said that being characterized as heroes by the public left them little room to express vulnerability.

more than 500,000 Americans had died from Covid-19, a toll higher than in any other country. The world’s struggle to contain the coronavirus was often compared to a war; in this case, the enemy claimed more Americans than World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined. All told, by March, one in three Americans had lost someone to the virus.

Grief and loss defined the last year. Around the world, the virus has taken millions of lives and left the mourning deprived of the usual rites. Funerals and final goodbyes took place over video calls, if at all. Widows and widowers joined online bereavement groups to process the pain of loss in isolation.

promised that there will be enough vaccine doses for every American adult by May, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that vaccinated people can begin gathering indoors again — a sign that people will soon be finding their way back to each other.

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