Today’s the day for The Times’s annual look at The Year in Pictures.


Dean Baquet, The Times’s executive editor, believes that 2020 will go down as a signature year in history, alongside years like 1968, 1945 and 1865. “It will long be remembered and studied as a time when more than 1.5 million people globally died during a pandemic, racial unrest gripped the world, and democracy itself faced extraordinary tests,” he writes.

Those words come from Dean’s introduction to The Times’s annual Year in Pictures feature. Here, my colleagues on The Morning and I have chosen a dozen of those pictures that we think best summarize 2020. But we obviously have room here for only a fraction of the year’s photographs — so I encourage you to check out the full selection.

As you do, ask yourself which pictures you would have selected if you had to pick only 12 to sum up 2020.

Again, you can find the full Year in Pictures here.

The Virus

  • Britain administered the first doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to thousands of people yesterday, kicking off a mass vaccination campaign that will soon spread to North America. One of the first people to get a shot was a resident of Warwickshire named William Shakespeare.
  • A vaccine from the Chinese state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm is 86 percent effective, according to testing data from the United Arab Emirates. China has three other vaccines in late-stage trials.
  • President-elect Joe Biden pledged to get “at least 100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people” during his first 100 days in office. He also said he would make mask-wearing mandatory on planes, trains and buses that cross state lines, as well as in federal buildings.
  • More than a third of Americans live in areas where hospitals are running critically short of intensive care beds, a Times analysis found.
  • The University of Michigan canceled its upcoming game against Ohio State because of an outbreak. The two rivals have played each other every year since 1918.


  • The Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch request from Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn the state’s election results. Separately, Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, called President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election “completely unacceptable.”
  • Biden plans to nominate Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Biden also picked Tom Vilsack, who led the Department of Agriculture during the Obama administration, to lead the department again.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed a $916 billion relief package in conversations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That’s almost identical in size to a package backed by a bipartisan group in Congress, though the White House plan would cut unemployment benefits in favor of a direct check to Americans.
  • The House passed a defense bill that requires removing the names of former Confederate leaders from military bases, with a large bipartisan majority. The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week, and Trump has threatened to veto it.
  • Terry McAuliffe, a Democratic former governor of Virginia, will run again for the job next year. In Virginia, governors cannot serve consecutive terms.

other big stories

  • The continued warming of the Arctic contributed to wildfires, shrinking snow cover and thawing permafrost in 2020, according to an annual report by climate researchers.
  • The Army is firing or suspending more than a dozen officials after an investigation into Fort Hood, a Texas base, found that commanders had created an environment “permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”
  • The fund to compensate victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual exploitation has already received more than 100 claims and paid out tens of millions of dollars.
  • Olivia Jade Giannulli, the daughter of the actress Lori Loughlin and the designer Mossimo Giannulli, spoke out for the first time on last year’s college admissions bribery scandal. “I don’t deserve pity,” she said. “We messed up.”
  • Mount Everest got a boost when China and Nepal announced a new measurement of the world’s tallest mountain: 29,031.7 feet, about three feet taller than previously thought.

Morning Reads

Buried Treasure: Last summer, a man found a hidden treasure chest in the Rocky Mountains that had tantalized fortune seekers for a decade. Now, the identity of the treasure finder has been revealed.

From Opinion: The Senate should pass a bill to shield the personal information of federal judges, argues Esther Salas, a federal judge whose son, Daniel, was killed at her home in July. The bill is named for him.

Lives Lived: William Aronwald, a noted prosecutor and defense lawyer, was inadvertently a central figure in one of the stranger tales from a brazen period of organized crime in New York. In 1987, hit men dispatched by a mobster to kill Aronwald mistakenly tracked and killed his father instead. Aronwald died at 79.

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Sanjay Bhagat

The author Sanjay Bhagat

Sanjay Bhagat is a news author in various news category and has worked on local newspapers.

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