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These stark images show how profoundly the coronavirus has changed life in the US

Published Mar 17th, 2020 12:58AM EDT
Coronavirus impact
Image: David Buchan/Shutterstock

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  • The US is still coming to grips with how to react to the inexorable spread of the coronavirus, which has now resulted in some cities around the country imposing strict lockdowns. Confirmed cases of infection globally, meanwhile, have now surpassed 181,500, and that number is continuing to rise — both around the world and in the US.
  • Shops are closing for indefinite periods, as are sports arenas, beaches, landmarks, and so many more public places as Americans practice social distancing and grapple with a new virus that none of us fully understand and all of us fear.
  • The images below paint a stark portrait of how profoundly the coronavirus has comprehensively altered life in the US in a matter of days.
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Keeping up with the news that seems to change by the minute regarding the spread of the coronavirus, and its pervasive and potentially deadly effects, has become something of a daunting challenge. Just today, Canada shut its border. US political leaders have started debating the feasibility of some kind of national lockdown. The number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus infection has surpassed 181,500 globally, and even a prominent Fox News on-air personality who was as of this past weekend still downplaying the virus has since reversed course. Meanwhile, officials are slowly ramping up the availability of tests for the virus, which will help cases and infected people be tracked — a very good thing, since as the World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said today, “You cannot fight a fire blindfolded.”

All of us have been glued to our phones and drowning in a flood of stories and updates over the past week or more as the virus’ spread has picked up speed around the US. The volume of all those stories, piling up from one day to the next, might eventually desensitize some people to the high stakes of this crisis, which is why it might be worth stopping for a moment to get a visual sense of just how dramatically this virus has brought life in America grinding to a near-halt.

If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, what you’ll see below is a powerful story in visual form about life in the country right now and the effects of this deadly new virus writ large.

We’ve gathered a few snapshots from across the US showing how much life has changed and the status quo been altered in recent days. You’ll see, below, everything from an empty sports arena to shuttered shops, deserted streets and landmarks, all of it a stark visual reflection of how much life here has changed — and how much March of 2020 marks a turning point for the country. Be safe, everyone.

Image source: Nick Wass/AP/Shutterstock
Image source: John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock
Image source: Larry Marano/Shutterstock
Image source: CJ GUNTHER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Image source: Seth Wenig/AP/Shutterstock
Image source: TANNEN MAURY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Image source: PETER FOLEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Image source: Yuki Iwamura/AP/Shutterstock
Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.