Photos: A year of the COVID-19 emergency in Massachusetts

Gov. Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic a year ago today.

A man passes through reflected light on a near empty Congress Street in downtown Boston on March 26, 2020. Craig F. Walker / Boston Globe

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There are few singular moments in history that are indelible in the cultural consciousness of Americans today. The World War II victory days, the assassinations of JFK and MLK, the moon landing, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the terror attacks of Sept. 11, the elections of the country’s first Black president and the man who came after him: The collective memories of these events defined entire generations. Ask most anyone who lived through one of them, and they can recount precisely where they were, who they were with, and what they were feeling when it happened.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, which upended the life of billions and has killed more Americans than any modern war or tragedy, is a little trickier to define. Unlike other pivotal moments in history, there’s isn’t a defined date for when it all began, no 5/8/45 or 11/22/63 or 9/11/01 to lean on when seeking an appropriate milestone, no easy box to point to on the calendar. Everyone has a different date for their “panniversary,” their own personalized demarcations between the Before Times and the New Normal.


Some saw what was coming as soon as China reported a “mystery pneumonia outbreak” in January. For many, it took a celebrity diagnosis or a sports league shutting down or a college sending students home for them to truly realize the severity of the situation.

But for Massachusetts residents, March 10, 2020 seems to be a reasonable starting date. Gov. Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency that Tuesday afternoon. It was warm and cloudy, some of the nicest weather in months.

Today, a long, long year later, the pandemic still isn’t over. But the end is in sight.

Below, see a collection of photos chronicling the coronavirus pandemic in Massachusetts in the last year, from mass lockdowns to mass vaccinations.


Gov. Charlie Baker announced a state of emergency in Massachusetts at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic on March 10, 2020 — a year ago today.

Five-year-old Marin Tillberg had enough of waiting in the long lines at Market Basket in Waltham as people prepared for the coronavirus on March 13, 2020.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced the closure of Boston Public Schools on March 13, 2020.

Gilberto Perez handed out sandwiches to the homeless inside St. Francis Day Center, one of Boston’s largest shelters, on March 23, 2020. The onset of the pandemic turned Boston’s homeless aid agencies on their head.


Jen Andonian, project manager for the MGH Center for Disaster Medicine, and Matt Shearer, senior analyst at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, got married at the MGH Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital on March 27, 2020.

Jean Follett, 86, got a visit from her daughter, Charlene, in Peabody on March 23, 2020. Charlene crouched outside to show her some recent photos of her grandchildren as they talked through a dining room window at the Ralph Kaplan Estates Assisted Living facility.


A New England Patriots jet arrived at Logan Airport after flying from China with a massive shipment of over one million N95 masks on April 1, 2020. Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker got emotional and appeared on the verge of tears as he thanked the Kraft family at the start of his remarks.

Staff member Jeana Damiano picked flowers outside Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston on April 10, 2020. About 1,000 spring flowers, some of which were going to line the route of the 2020 Boston Marathon, were arranged in a heart outside the center and given to health care workers as they concluded long shifts at the hospital.


Manny Costomiris, the owner of Jimmy’s Broad Street Diner in Weymouth, took an order to go on April 30, 2020. The restaurant employed two dozen before the shutdown, but at the time it was just Manny and a handful of workers.

Alice Lowell, the wife of veteran Charles Lowell who died of the COVID-19 virus at the Holyoke Soldier’s Home, watered the plants while cleaning out the house the couple shared for 30 years in Hardwick on May 2, 2020.

The Massachusetts National Guard 104th Fighter Wing flew over the Boston area, to show support during the COVID-19 pandemic on May 6, 2020.


Guy Martelle, wearing a covering that was once a Halloween costume, had a bench all to himself on Court Street in Boston on May 12, 2020.

Keolis employee Colin Gardinier sprayed disinfectant inside an MBTA commuter rail train on May 15, 2020.

Oger Julien, 78, got applause from emotional nurses, doctors and staff on June 2, 2020 as he was the last patient to leave Boston Hope hospital at the Boston Convention Center, which treated COVID-19 patients for several months at the height of the virus.


A graduate of Lawrence High School celebrated during a graduation car parade on June 5, 2020.

Nina Coletta got a kiss from her husband, Edmund, as he arrived to take her home from Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston on June 23, 2020. Coletta would be going home for the first time in over 70 days after falling ill to COVID-19.

Jaisha Hernandez, 8, rode on The Boston Common Frog Pond Carousel on August 30, 2020. It was wrapped with plastic to separate riders to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.


School children were spaced apart in one of the rooms used for lunch at Woodland Elementary School in Milford on Sept. 11, 2020.

Jake Horan ate his lunch outside Villa Mexico Cafe on Water Street in Boston on Oct. 6, 2020. His only company on the city block was a pigeon.

PCA Cesar Merida walked through a temporary tent set up at UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester on Nov. 11, 2020.

Physician Alister Martin received one of the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from RN Jennifer Lisciotti at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Dec. 16, 2020.


Nadia Machado, a nurse with Life Care Center, greets a resident at Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley in Littleton before helping to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 30, 2020.

Samantha Schuko, RN drew up a dose of the Moderna vaccine during the opening day of vaccinations for first responders at the Gillette Stadium/CIC Health COVID-19 Vaccination Site on Jan. 18, 2021. It was the first large-scale vaccination site in Massachusetts.

Dentist Sandra Ameri and endodontist Mark Emami took a picture together in Gillette Stadium on Jan. 18 after getting the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 18, 2021.


Wally the Green Monster, the mascot for the Red Sox, gestured while dressed in a medical white coat outside Fenway Park on Feb. 1, 2021. Fenway Park became one of several large COVID-19 vaccination sites in the Boston area.

Registered nurse Molly Ridge got a hug from comfort dog Bob at Tufts Medical Center on Feb. 25, 2021.

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