WORLD

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

In January, 1.24 million people came of age in an annual rite of passage for 20-year-olds that, were it not for the pandemic, would have been celebrated in style with childhood reunions and all-night parties. While this year many ceremonies were canceled or moved online, thousands gathered in Yokohama to take part in a socially distanced event with staggered attendance. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
In January, 1.24 million people came of age in an annual rite of passage for 20-year-olds that, were it not for the pandemic, would have been celebrated in style with childhood reunions and all-night parties. While this year many ceremonies were canceled or moved online, thousands gathered in Yokohama to take part in a socially distanced event with staggered attendance. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

Adam Grant, writing for The New York Times in April, encapsulated the mood of 2021 in one word: languishing. Despite a burst of optimism as vaccinations were rolled out to eager arms, the emergence of the delta and omicron variants of COVID-19 meant that life in general remained stuck in limbo. It’s too soon to say if 2022 will see us thriving, but an appreciation for small moments of joy will no doubt get us there.

Ryoichi Ichihashi, founding director of the General Home Care Clinic in Gifu Prefecture, checks on a bedridden mother infected with COVID-19 in Tokyo in early September. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Ryoichi Ichihashi, founding director of the General Home Care Clinic in Gifu Prefecture, checks on a bedridden mother infected with COVID-19 in Tokyo in early September. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

Junko Yamaguchi, deputy director of Itabashi Hospital’s Division of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, stands outside the room of a patient with COVID-19. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
Junko Yamaguchi, deputy director of Itabashi Hospital’s Division of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, stands outside the room of a patient with COVID-19. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

A civil servant receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the former site of the famous Tsukiji fish market, which was repurposed by the city earlier this year as a temporary mass inoculation site. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
A civil servant receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the former site of the famous Tsukiji fish market, which was repurposed by the city earlier this year as a temporary mass inoculation site. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

The Japanese flag flutters near empty stands during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23. Antivirus measures meant few spectators could attend. | AFP-JIJI
The Japanese flag flutters near empty stands during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23. Antivirus measures meant few spectators could attend. | AFP-JIJI

A Hindu holy man wears a mask before taking a dip in the Ganges River during the last shahi snan at Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, India, amid the spread of COVID-19 in April. India was hit hard by the delta variant, which came to be the dominant strain of the virus worldwide.  | REUTERS
A Hindu holy man wears a mask before taking a dip in the Ganges River during the last shahi snan at Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, India, amid the spread of COVID-19 in April. India was hit hard by the delta variant, which came to be the dominant strain of the virus worldwide. | REUTERS

A protester confronts riot police during a demonstration against restrictions enacted by France to fight COVID-19, including compulsory health passes. Similar demonstrations took place across Europe as governments tried to pressure the unvaccinated to get their COVID-19 jabs. | REUTERS
A protester confronts riot police during a demonstration against restrictions enacted by France to fight COVID-19, including compulsory health passes. Similar demonstrations took place across Europe as governments tried to pressure the unvaccinated to get their COVID-19 jabs. | REUTERS

A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty branded COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, in August. The African country and its neighbors became the targets of travel bans after identifying a new strain of the virus ­— omicron — in November. | BLOOMBERG
A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty branded COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, in August. The African country and its neighbors became the targets of travel bans after identifying a new strain of the virus ­— omicron — in November. | BLOOMBERG