COVID-19: An unforgettable year

Students in Kathy Wangler’s first grade class eat lunch at their desks with protective barriers Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, at St. Joseph Marquette Catholic School in Yakima, Wash. On campus, students have become familiar with daily temperature checks, screening questions, sanitation procedures, student cohorting that limits interactions across small groups, social distancing and mask wearing, school officials report. To prevent further spread of the virus, students eat lunch at their desk.

The new decade started with shock and tears as employees of Astria Regional Medical Center said goodbye to their beloved hospital. Not long after, the 2019-20 Hardwood Classic state basketball tournament started and ended with crowds of family and fans cheering for competitive student-athletes. Little did we know this would be the end of normalcy.

The first case of the novel coronavirus was diagnosed in March, and as a photojournalist of the Yakima Herald-Republic, I began a journey that embarked on a year of documenting isolation, distress, wildfires, nationwide movements for racial and social justice, Yakima County’s elections, school and business restrictions, and moments of hope.

These images were some of the memorable moments of an unforgettable year.