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This year was one that no one could have imagined — 2020 has been marked by devastation, by passion, and by change.

Our photographers covered patients, hospitals, and medical workers struggling to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. They chronicled patients with cancer navigating the process of treatment, and clinical trials as the virus continued to spread. They documented the medical community’s reaction in the wake of George Floyd’s killing — a response to centuries of racism in the U.S. And they put faces to other critical health care stories, from the rising cost of insulin to the bias rife in medical software.


In a year when getting too close was dangerous, photographers still found ways to tell these stories.

Below are our favorite photographs from STAT from this extraordinary year.

Dima Hendricks
Dima Hendricks outside of her home in Brockton, Mass. From ‘They are really afraid’: Fears about Covid-19 are complicating care for patients with sickle cell Kayana Szymczak for STAT
Brigham and Women's Covid
Nurse Natasha Cacciatore works in a patient room in the ICU at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston during the first surge of Covid-19. From Photos: One day inside a Boston hospital’s response to Covid-19 Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe/STAT
Robin Hodges
Robin Hodges outside of her home in Littleton, Mass. From A cancer patient reconsiders her end-of-life wishes, as Covid-19 brings mortality into sharper focus Kayana Szymczak for STAT
Stephanie Giordano, a research and development associate at Regeneron, works in one of the company’s labs in Tarrytown, N.Y. In the race to develop a coronavirus treatment, Regeneron thinks it has the inside track Erica Yoon for STAT
Alexa, 29. “It’s not just like one emotion at a time, it’s all emotions at once — and not really being able to reconcile them because you’re anticipating another death coming.” From ‘It just weighs on your psyche’: Black Americans on mental health, trauma, and resilience Crystal Milner/STAT
Seattle coronavirus
Brandyn Graves, 30, sells N95 masks outside CenturyLink Field before a Sounders FC match in Seattle. Health authorities have urged the public not to buy the masks to avoid shortages for health care workers. From U.S. communities are braced for coronavirus outbreaks. Seattle is already in the thick of it Jovelle Tamayo for STAT
Yolanda Desir & Marie Deus
Yolanda Desir holds a photograph of her sister, Marie Deus, a food services worker at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Boston who died of Covid-19. From In the Covid-19 death of a hospital food worker, a microcosm of the pandemic Kayana Szymczak for STAT
Janelle Lutgen
Janelle Lutgen (right) of Bernard, Iowa, stands outside the Bernie Sanders campaign office in Cedar Rapids. Ever since her son, Jesse, died nearly two years ago after struggling to afford treatment for his type 1 diabetes, Lutgen has used his story to launch an advocacy campaign. From It’s the insulin, stupid: How drug pricing’s simplest case study became a top issue for 2020 Democrats Rebecca F. Miller for STAT
Karen Howley
Patient Karen Howley receives her infusion of an experimental cancer drug at Dana-Farber Cancer Center. From ‘We have a job to do’: Cancer patients and their doctors carry on with clinical trials during Covid-19 Kayana Szymczak for STAT
Amy Sapien
Amy Sapien with her son, Landen, 7, inside their home in Tampa, Fla. Amy recently had a mastectomy due to breast cancer and has had to be careful with social distancing because of her and her son’s vulnerability during the pandemic. Landen is currently battling leukemia. From ‘Forced to retract completely into ourselves,’ a mother and son confront cancer in the age of Covid-19 Eve Edelheit for STAT
Emma Klek - TD1 journey
Emma Kleck changes her Dexcom transmitter in a Vancouver park, the morning after traveling to Canada to purchase insulin. She hacks the device to save money, but this hack didn’t work. From See one woman’s complicated, costly journey to a Canadian strip mall pharmacy — all for cheaper insulin Monique Jaques for STAT
Edgar Chavez, a family practitioner who founded a network of clinics in Los Angeles, conducts a telemedicine visit from his office. He says many of his patients are afraid to seek testing or care for Covid-19. From Fearing deportation, many immigrants at higher risk of Covid-19 are afraid to seek testing or care Jessica Pons for STAT
Ahoskie Mayor Weyling White (left) and Hertford County Magistrate Deborah Morrison stand on railroad tracks that divide the predominantly white and predominantly Black parts of town in Ahoskie, N.C. From From a small town in North Carolina to big-city hospitals, how software infuses racism into U.S. health care Landon Bost for STAT
Carrie Diehl
Peer doula Carrie Diehl carries her 8-month-old daughter, Avery Diehl-Stern, while leaving work at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. From Pregnancy poses challenges for people in recovery from substance use disorder. Covid-19 is taxing their support system Alice Proujansky for STAT
Dr. Terris King 3
Terris King, pastor of Liberty Grace Church of God in Baltimore. From With science and scripture, a Baltimore pastor is fighting Covid-19 vaccine skepticism Eric Kruszewski for STAT
Azan Virji & Ziad Saade
Azan Virji, a second-year Harvard Medical School student, chats with mentee Ziad Saade, a rising senior at Columbia University on a premed track who is originally from Lebanon. From Getting into U.S. medical schools wasn’t easy for them. Now international students are smoothing the path for others Kayana Szymczak for STAT
Gem Scorp
Gem Scorp in Queens, N.Y., where he works as a nurse and has been treating Covid-19 patients. Originally from the Philippines, he came to New York in 2006. From Nursing ranks are filled with Filipino Americans. The pandemic is taking an outsized toll on them Monique Jaques for STAT


Top image from A reckoning for health care professionals: Should they be activists, too?


For more, check out STAT’s most memorable photos from 2019 and 2018

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