September could be seen glistening in the horizon. It was to be the month in which pandemic restrictions and government assistance were finally lifted, and a new season of live gatherings, face-to-face education, and office work was to begin as an optimistic spring gave way to summer.
However, events unfolded in a surprising and unexpected manner. Photographers from the New York Times based all across the United States have spent the last six months photographing the coronavirus economy as plotlines changed, split, and diverged over the year. Their images reflected the widespread isolation of the previous year, but the springtime economy demonstrated that genuine progress had been made. More than half a million new jobs were generated in May, almost double the number of new positions produced in the previous month. As Covid vaccines became more widespread, maskless people pressed together in marketplaces and restaurants. The subway carriages were humming with bustle. People gathered, embraced and kissed one another.
When a more infectious and sinister version of the virus appeared in the summer, the recovery began to sputter and eventually failed. The number of new jobs created fell from more than a million in July to 235,000 in August. Commuter hubs that were usually humming with activity had unchanging periods of desolation during this period. Disputes about the need of masks, restrictions, and vaccines have become even more vehement and divisive.
The vaccinations were available in the early spring, providing an exciting shock of optimism. Distribution, on the other hand, was sluggish and inconsistent at first, and precious dosages were rationed in order to save supplies. Achieving a scheduled meeting seemed at times like discovering a golden ticket hidden inside a Willy Wonka chocolate bar.
Then the scope of eligibility was expanded, and the rate of vaccinations increased. By the middle of April, more than half of all individuals had gotten at least one vaccination, and the number of new cases recorded had fallen significantly from its peak. The economy was slowly regaining its footing after the catastrophic Covid-19 crisis, which resulted in the layoffs of 22 million people in the previous year.