Country hits harrowing total as Biden administration ramps up coronavirus vaccinations amid drop in daily infections.
Last February, Americans still greeted each other with handshakes and commuted to work in crowded public transportation.
Children were still at school in actual classrooms. But concern was building about a mystery respiratory illness that had just been named COVID-19.
There was panic buying, and a sense of trepidation.
Yet, it was tempered by a large dose of American optimism. The coronavirus still felt like a foreign problem, even as US authorities recorded the country’s first known death from the virus.
Words such as lockdown and social distancing were not yet part of the national vocabulary in the early days. Few wore masks as they stood in long lines to stockpile groceries and cleared the shelves of toilet paper.
Precisely a year later, the United States has surpassed a horrifying milestone of 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 – more than any nation in the world.