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What to Know and What to Do About the Global Pandemic

6 minute read

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.

How TIME Plans to Cover the Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic

A health care worker wears protective gear at the San Giovanni Bosco Hospital in Turin, Italy, on Feb. 27Stefano 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

The Tech That Could Be Our Best Hope for Fighting COVID-19—and Future Outbreaks

A woman consults a nurse at a walk-up COVID-19 testing booth outside Yangji Hospital in SeoulEd 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

Behind the Covers of TIME’s Special Coronavirus Issue

When the World Stops Time Magazine cover
Photographs by Angela Strassheim for TIME; David Ryder for TIME; Wang Wei for TIME; Anastasia Taylor-Lind for TIME; Forough Alaei—VII Mentor Program/Redux for TIME; Luca Locatelli for TIME

This week’s issue of TIME is centered around a special report on the current coronavirus pandemic. It features six different covers, each with a portrait of individuals directly impacted by the virus, ranging from the tragically hard-hit Life Care Center in Kirkland… Read more

The Trump Administration Fumbled Its Initial Response to Coronavirus. Is There Enough Time to Fix It?

Trump and Fauci, at microphone, address reporters in the Rose Garden on March 13Evan Vucci—AP

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

In the Battle Against Coronavirus, Humanity Lacks Leadership

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.
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.Getty Images

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

Life in China Has Not Returned to Normal, Despite What the Government Says

Daily Life in Beijing As Chinas Economy Suffers Historic Slump Due to Virus Shutdown
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

Understanding the Coronavirus Pandemic, in Five Charts

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

‘We Hand-Sanitize and Hold Hands.’ What It’s Like When Your Partner May Have Coronavirus

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

As COVID-19 Crashes the Economy, Workers and Business Owners Wonder if Anything Can Save Them From Financial Ruin

Businesses are being forced to close as social distancing to avoid COVID-19 takes hold
Businesses are being forced to close as social distancing to avoid COVID-19 takes holdTimothy Fadek—Redux

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

The Moral Dilemma of Coronavirus Quarantines

Scarcity predictably gives rise to hoarding, denying other people their share of finite goods
Scarcity predictably gives rise to hoarding, denying other people their share of finite goodsRoger Kisby—Redux

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

What We Can Learn From Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong About Handling Coronavirus

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

Visiting My Sick Mom Could Put Her Life at Greater Risk. But How Many More Times Will I Get to See Her?

The author and her mother, photographed in Oregon in the 1980s.
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

Why Wearing a Face Mask Is Encouraged in Asia, but Shunned in the U.S.

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

The Coronavirus Outbreak Is a Critical Test for the European Union. So Far, It’s Failing

A temporary emergency room is set up in Brescia to alleviate strain on Italy’s health care system, on March 13Francesca 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

‘Is Ordering Takeout Unethical?’ A Medical Ethicist Answers Some of the Most Common Moral Questions Around Coronavirus

DoorDash Kitchens Opens First Shared Food-Delivery Company Kitchen
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, 2019David 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

As U.S. Braces for Coronavirus to Spread, Hospitals Worry About Shortages

Amid Dire Predictions of Virus Spread, Hospitals Prepare to Be Inundated
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

In the Wake of the Coronavirus, Here’s Why Americans Are Hoarding Toilet Paper

Toilet rolls on empty shop shelf
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

The Secret to Keeping Your Kids Happy, Busy and Learning if Their School Closes Due to Coronavirus

Susie Allison

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

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