Bizarre, haunting images that paint a COVID-19 pandemic year unfolding

Olivia Grant (right) hugs her grandmother, Mary Grace Sileo through a plastic drop cloth hung up on a homemade clothes line during Memorial Day Weekend on May 24, 2020. It is the first time they have had contact of any kind since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown started in late February. (Al Bello, 2020 Getty Images)

How do you explain in words the impact that 2020 has left on us, as a global pandemic has raged on?

The answer: You don’t.

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There are some things in life that can only be illustrated through images -- quite possibly the best way to truly convey the magnitude of a situation and the emotions it brought.

Admittedly, we know there’s no way to encompass all that COVID-19 has meant for the world in 2020, but these photos, perhaps, begin to scratch the surface in showing the emotional year that health care workers, patients and the world has endured.

Warning: Some images may contain content that depict death.

People walk through a sparse international departure terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) as concern over the coronavirus grows on March 7, 2020 in New York City. The number of global coronavirus infections has now surpassed 100,000, causing disruptions throughout the globe. The airline and travel industries has been especially hard hit by the outbreak, with both business and leisure travelers cancelling plans. (2020 Getty Images)
A police officer crosses the street in a nearly empty Times Square on March 12, 2020 in New York, United States. (2020 Getty Images)
Shelves normally stocked with hand wipes, hand sanitizer and toilet paper sit empty at a Target store as people stockpile supplies due to the outbreak of COVID-19 March 13, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. The U.S. government is racing to make more coronavirus test kits available as schools close around the country, sporting events are canceled, and businesses encourage workers to telecommute where possible. (2020 Getty Images)
People stand in line outside the Martin B. Retting Inc. guns store on March 15, 2020 in Culver City, California. The spread of COVID-19 has prompted some Americans to line up for supplies in a variety of stores. (2020 Getty Images)
Paul Habans Charter School hands out supplies, including food, books and computers, to students and the community as Louisiana schools close for one month due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 17, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (2020 Getty Images)
Father Scott Holmer of St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church makes the sign of the cross while holding confession in the church parking lot on March 20, 2020 in Bowie, Maryland. Holmer, who sits six feet away from those in cars, holds drive thru confessions daily in the parking lot of the church due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. (2020 Getty Images)
Forty Second Street stands mostly empty as much of the city is void of cars and pedestrians over fears of spreading the coronavirus on March 22, 2020 in New York City. Across the country, schools, businesses and places of work have either been shut down or are restricting hours of operation as health officials try to slow the spread of COVID-19. (2020 Getty Images)
A teacher from Yung Wing School P.S. 124 who wished not be identified remote teaches on her laptop from her roof on March 24, 2020 in New York City. (2020 Getty Images)
City of Las Vegas operations and maintenance staff worker Antonio Ruiz disinfects playground equipment at Centennial Hills Park as part of an effort to keep the city's 70 parks open for the public during the coronavirus pandemic on March 25, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The city is sending 12 crews out twice a day to clean and disinfect high-touch areas in parks, including playground equipment and restrooms. (2020 Getty Images)
People sit on a hill overlooking Dodger Stadium on what was supposed to be Major League Baseball's opening day, now postponed due to the coronavirus, on March 26, 2020. (2020 Getty Images)
The USNS Comfort hospital ship travels up the Hudson River as it heads to Pier 90 on March 30, 2020 seen from Battery Park in New York City. The Comfort, a floating hospital in the form of a Navy ship, is equipped to take in patients within 24 hours but will not be treating people with COVID-19. The ship's 1,000 beds and 12 operation rooms will help ease the pressure on New York hospitals, many of which are now overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. (2020 Getty Images)
A worker uses a forklift to move a body outside of the Brooklyn Hospital on March 31, 2020 in New York, United States. Due to a surge in deaths caused by the coronavirus, hospitals are using refrigerator trucks as makeshift morgues. (2020 Getty Images)
Mary-Lou McCullagh, 83, and her husband Bob, 84, greet Axel Stirton, 2, the little boy who lives across the street April 3, 2020 in Ventura, California. Mary-Lou and Bob are in isolation from the Covid-19 pandemic, trying to ensure that they do not come in contact with the virus. Mary-Lou has a medical condition that makes her especially vulnerable. They are using Zoom technology to stay in touch with family and friends. Axel is a regular visitor in normal times, but he can no longer come into the house because of the risks of the Covid-19 virus. Mary-Lou and Bob comfort him in his confusion through the window. (2020 Getty Images)
Mt. Sinai medical workers hold up photos of medical workers who have died from the coronavirus during a protest on April 3, 2020 in New York City. Medical workers are protesting the lack of personal protective equipment during a surge in coronavirus cases. (2020 Getty Images)
Orthodox Jewish men move a wooden casket from a hearse at a funeral home in the Borough Park neighborhood which has seen an upsurge of (COVID-19) patients during the pandemic on April 05, 2020 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. Hospitals in New York City, which has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus, are facing shortages of beds, ventilators and protective equipment for medical staff. (2020 Getty Images)
Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center employees transport deceased patients to refrigerated trucks on April 8, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. One of the city's hardest impacted hospitals due to the coronavirus, Kingsbrook has begun storing the bodies of the the deceased in refrigerated trucks. (2020 Getty Images)
Residents watch a Starship Technologies delivery robot pass by April 8, 2020 in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Washington, DC. The local Broad Branch Market is teaming up with Starship to provide delivery service of grocery and prepared food by autonomous robots in the outbreak of COVID-19. (2020 Getty Images)
A letter of appreciation from a young girl is displayed in the truck of US Postal Service worker Lou Martini as goes about his daily delivery route during the coronavirus pandemic on April 15, 2020. Martini, who has been a postal worker for more than 30 years, takes as much caution as he can while delivering the mail during the COVID-19 outbreak. A mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and the spraying down of some packages are a few of the precautions Martini incorporates into his daily routine as one of the nation's 'essential workers.' (2020 Getty Images)
Joanne Collins Brock , a second-grade teacher at St Francis School, teaches online in her empty classroom on April 15, 2020 in Goshen, Kentucky. Brock has been teaching daily online to her students because of the closure of schools in Kentucky due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (2020 Getty Images)
Medical workers putting on PPEs at the beginning of their shift at the emergency field hospital run by Samaritan's Purse and Mount Sinai Health System in Central Park on April 16, 2020 in New York City. (2020 Misha Friedman)
Public health workers, doctors and nurses protest over lack of sick pay and personal protective equipment outside a hospital in the borough of the Bronx on April 17, 2020 in New York, NY. (2020 Giles Clarke)
Dr. Natalia Echeverri uses a swab to gather a sample from the nose of Juan Arias, who said he is homeless, to test for COVID-19 on April 17, 2020 in Miami, Florida.Echeverri is part of a group of community organizations that are helping the homeless by providing tests, protective masks, gloves, tents, and other items to the people in need. The organizations feel that the local government programs are not doing enough for the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic. (2020 Getty Images)
COVID-19 patient and Guatemalan asylum seeker Zully looks over a photo of her newborn baby Neysel while in a Stamford Hospital ICU on April 24, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. Zully was taken off a ventilator only days before, weeks after giving birth to her son in an emergency C-section, because of her severe illness. Zully, still positive for coronavirus, has yet to hold her baby, who is temporarily staying with her son's teacher Luciana Lira, a K-5 Bilingual /ESL instructor at Hart Magnet Elementary in Stamford. (2020 Getty Images)
Stamford Elementary school teacher Luciana Lira, 42, holds baby Neysel, then 2 1/2 weeks, while showing the newborn for the first time to his immigrant mother Zully, a Guatemalan asylum seeker, and her son Junior, 7, via Zoom on April 20, 2020. Zully had just come off a ventilator at Stamford Hospital, and it was the first time she had seen the image of her baby. Lira became a temporary guardian for the newborn, after the boy's mother Zully went to the Stamford Hospital emergency room, almost 8 months pregnant and sick with COVID-19. She was taken to the ICU, put on a ventilator and hospital staff performed an emergency C-section. Baby Neysel was born on April 2, 2020, five weeks early and healthy, but unable to return to his home, as his father Marvin and half brother Junior, 7, had been exposed to the virus. Marvin contacted Lira, Junior's ESL teacher and asked if she could take temporary custody of the baby, so as to not potentially infect the child. Marvin and Junior later tested positive and have been quarantined at home. Lira continues teaching her elementary school students, albeit remotely, while also caring for the infant at home. (2020 Getty Images)
Lily Sage Weinrieb transfers remains from a NYC hospital on April 23, 2020 in New York City. After studying at the American Academy McAllister Institute, Lily Sage Weinrieb, 25, from Philadelphia, PA started her residency as a funeral director at International Hamilton Heights Funeral Home in Harlem. Before the pandemic, the home averaged 30-40 clients per month. Now, that number has quadrupled. Between transferring remains from hospitals, viewings, paperwork, embalmments, crematorium and cemetery runs, Lily works from 8am to midnight. She often sleeps on a couch in the funeral chapel. She is completely overwhelmed scheduling funerals for a month in advance and not able to do many aspects of her job like being able to console grieving relatives with a hug nor a touch and limiting numbers at viewing and burials. Despite these impediments, Lily attempts to find solutions such as video viewings and other ceremonies. (2020 Getty Images)
Los Angeles Police Department Detective Michaell Chang, who had been in critical condition with the novel coronavirus, elbow bumps his doctor, Dr. Raymond Lee, after being released 
from Providence St. John's Health Center as family and healthcare workers watch on April 17, 2020. Chang was infected with COVID-19 in March. (2020 Getty Images)
Nurses and other medical staff at NYU Langone Hospital come outside the hospital at 7 p.m. to receive cheers from first responders and other New Yorkers on May 2, 2020. With a section of First Avenue closed off for a few minutes, the nightly ritual has taken on a carnival like atmosphere where, after weeks of isolation, New Yorkers are able to interact with each other. (2020 Andrew Lichtenstein)
After picking up remains of a victim of COVID-19, Lily Sage Weinrieb calls relatives for a virtual viewing before cremation on May 4, 2020 in New York City. (2020 Getty Images)
Nurse Amanda Miller (right) assists nurse Kristyna Saja as she dons personal protective equipment prior to caring for a COVID-19 patient in the ICU at Sharp Grossmont Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 5, 2020 in La Mesa, California. (2020 Getty Images)
Medical workers hug outside NYU Langone Health hospital as people applaud to show their gratitude to medical staff and essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic on May 7, 2020 in New York City. (2020 Noam Galai)
Nurse Jacqueline Fisher-Lopez speaks to Angela Gaines, the daughter of COVID-19 patient Martha Gonzalez, as Angela sits outside her mother's room at the Acute Care COVID Unit at Sharp Coronado Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 7, 2020 in Coronado, California. COVID-19 patients are not allowed to have visitors for safety reasons but family members are able to view and communicate with Gonzalez from outside the window. (2020 Getty Images)
Paulino Perez (right) hugs his brother Isaias Perez Yanez, 59, as Isaias is released from Sharp Coronado Hospital after battling COVID-19 for five weeks there on May 8, 2020 in Coronado, California. Nurses, doctors and other staff members lined the hallways to celebrate Isaias' recovery as he was wheeled out of the hospital to reunite with his family. (2020 Getty Images)
A medical worker from Lenox Hill Hospital comes outside while people show gratitude as part of the nightly #ClapBecauseWeCare during the coronavirus pandemic on May 10, 2020 in New York City. (2020 Getty Images)
Many of the seats aboard a United Airlines to Houston, Texas, from San Francisco on May 11, 2020. Air travel is down as estimated 94% due to the coronavirus pandemic, causing U.S. airlines to take a major financial hit with losses of $350 million to $400 million a day, and nearly half of major carriers airplanes are sitting idle. (2020 Getty Images)
Maryland Cremation Services transporter Morgan Dean-McMillan gently moves the remains of a coronavirus victim onto a stretcher in the morgue at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center May 11, 2020 in Silver Spring, Maryland. MCS transporters travel hundreds of miles a day throughout the Washington Metro area while retrieving the remains of COVID-19 victims from hospitals and other care facilities to prepare them for cremation. (2020 Getty Images)
Maryland Cremation Services owner Dorota Marshall and transporter Reginald Elliott seal cremation container with tape while preparing a novel coronavirus victim for cremation May 11, 2020 in Millersville, Maryland. The workload at the funeral home and crematory is beginning to return to normal -- about nine cremations a day -- but during the recent height of the COVID-19 pandemic, they processed an unprecedented 19 cremations in one day. (2020 Getty Images)
Wearing masks and gloves to reduce risk from the novel coronavirus, Poonam Verma records video for family members who could not be present as she and her husband Raje Verma perform the Hindu post-death rite for her sister, Chietra Kumar, before she is cremated at Maryland Cremation Services May 19, 2020. Because the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from having a Hindu priest present, the Vermas performed the final rites themselves, including placing traditional items on Kumar’s body like ghee butter, rice, herbs, gold, milk and water from the Ganges river. (2020 Getty Images)
Nurses rush to meet with a patient that is being admitted to the emergency room at Regional Medical Center on May 21, 2020 in San Jose, California. Frontline workers are continuing to care for coronavirus COVID-19 patients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. (2020 Getty Images)
Olivia Grant (right) hugs her grandmother, Mary Grace Sileo through a plastic drop cloth hung up on a homemade clothes line during Memorial Day Weekend on May 24, 2020. It is the first time they have had contact of any kind since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown started in late February. (2020 Getty Images)
An aerial view of people in cars lined up to be tested for COVID-19 in a parking lot at Dodger Stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic on June 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The United States set another single-day record of new coronavirus cases while California is also seeing a surge in new cases. (2020 Getty Images)
A medical staff member rests in front of a fan in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on June 30, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (2020 Getty Images)
Members of the medical staff rest on a stretcher in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since Texas reopened, pushing intensive-care wards to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the virus spreads. (2020 Getty Images)
A member of the medical staff speaks to a patient who is treated with a helmet-based ventilator in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 28, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (2020 Getty Images)


Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS check a woman with potential COVID-19 symptoms after she was found unconscious in a parking lot on Aug. 03, 2020 in Austin, Texas. (2020 Getty Images)
A man climbs up on an ambulance as EMS medics treat his mother inside before transporting her to a hospital on Aug. 12, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (2020 Getty Images)
An empty classroom is seen at Hollywood High School on Aug. 13, 2020 in Hollywood, California. With the advent of COVID-19, blended learning, or combined online and classroom learning, will become the norm for the 2020-21 school year. (2020 Getty Images)
Gordon Narayan is overcome with emotion after visiting with a patient during his cleaning shift at Harborview Medical Center on Aug. 20, 2020. (2020 Getty Images)
Chris Duncan, whose 75-year-old mother Constance died from COVID on her birthday, photographs a COVID Memorial Project installation of 20,000 American flags on the National Mall as the United States crosses the 200,000 lives lost in the COVID-19 pandemic Sept. 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. (2020 Getty Images)
People stand in line to receive food donations at a Food Bank for New York City pop up food pantry outside Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on Sept. 24, 2020 in New York City. (2020 Noam Galai)
A woman dines in a "social distancing bubble" at Cafe Du Soleil as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on Sept. 28, 2020 in New York City. (2020 Alexi Rosenfeld)
A cyclist takes pictures of the public art project “IN AMERICA How could this happen…” on the DC Armory Parade Ground Oct. 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The art piece, created by local artist Susanne Brennan Firstenberg, will be on display for two weeks with an estimated 240,000 flags planted to represent lives that have been lost to COVID-19. (2020 Getty Images)
Election inspector David Hopkinson wears a full-face ventilator as a protection against Covid-19 while working at the Emanuel First Lutheran School polling center on Nov. 03, 2020 in Lansing, Michigan. (2020 Getty Images)
Dr. Joseph Varon hugs and comforts a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit during Thanksgiving at the United Memorial Medical Center on Nov. 26, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (2020 Getty Images)
Socially distanced tables are set up outside a home during Thanksgiving on Nov. 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (2020 Getty Images)

About the Author

Dawn Jorgenson, Graham Media Group Branded Content Managing Editor, began working with the group in April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.

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