11 May 2020

The Global Frontline

Hidden from view Part I

So much of this pandemic is unseen. But despite national lockdowns and social distancing, photographers are documenting the raw tragedy – and triumphs – of the fight against Covid-19

By Jon Jones, head of photography

If you look back at the last eight weeks of lockdown, what do you see?  People clapping for the NHS, couples walking in the park, volunteers delivering food to the elderly and vulnerable. We’ve seen images of panic buying in supermarkets, car parks as testing sites, and people flouting the stay-at-home advice. As moments in time they are important, but they are also a reminder that so much of about this deadly virus, which has killed nearly 300,000 people worldwide, is unseen.

Since the outbreak started, I have looked at thousands of images from hundreds of photographers around the world. What struck me is just how much is hidden from view. Of course, the photographers documenting this – the biggest story many of us will cover in our lifetimes – are facing huge challenges, from restrictions on movement, a lack of access, to the ever-present threat to their health. And so it is that biggest global event of our time is partly hidden, hard to interrogate, leaving us struggling to fully understand it.

In some places, all we can see are soldiers patrolling the streets. In others, photographers can only gain access to mass testing stations and huge field hospitals – the flagship projects of panicked government. Elsewhere the images are just, empty. Here, in a two-part essay, we glimpse the reality of life on the new global frontline.

A patient with coronavirus is treated at the intensive care unit of Aachen University Hospital, in Germany.
Healthcare workers mourn colleagues who died from coronavirus during a demonstration outside Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York.
A medical worker cares for a patient suffering from Covid-19 in Rome's San Filippo Neri Hospital.
Queues of shoppers outside the municipal market in the Peruvian city of Piura. As of April 29, there were 33,931 confirmed cases in Peru, and 943 deaths.
A busy hallway in the emergency department at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital, New York.
Children are disinfected during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Kathmandu.
Witoto indigenous nursing assistant Vanda Ortega, 32, embarks on her round of healthcare visits in the Parque das Tribos, an indigenous community in the suburbs of Manaus, Brazil.
Police officers on their way to visit residents in remote areas in Altay, in China's Xinjiang region, to promote the awareness of the virus.
Passengers are disinfected in Hefei railway station, in China's eastern Anhui province.
Mass prayer against Covid-19 in Dakar, Senegal, after cases were confirmed in recent days.
An inmate's relative shouts in protest outside the Sant'Anna prison in Modena, Emilia-Romagna, in one of Italy's quarantine red zones in early March.
Venezuelans hold their documents on the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, at the border with Colombia.
Iranian firefighters disinfect streets in the capital Tehran in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Venezuelan men carry an unconscious woman as they try to enter Colombia.
Face masks are given to shoppers before they enter a supermarket in Caracas, Venezuela.
Flowers are stored before they are destroyed. The Dutch horticultural industry has sounded the alarm due to a drop in global demand.
People returning from Egypt, Syria and Lebanon are re-tested at a screening zone for Covid-19 in Kuwait City.
Hand disinfectant is distributed to passengers in downtown Nairobi, Kenya.
A Palestinian sanitary worker sprays disinfectant around the refugee camp of Aida.
Shoppers stockpile toilet paper and kitchen roll at a supermarket in Bangkok, Thailand.
Secondary school students in Kigali, Rwanda, wash their hands before they return home.
A "drive-thru" coronavirus testing lab set up by a local community centre in West Palm Beach, north of Miami.
A lone worshipper in Westminster Cathedral in central London.
At the entrance of the Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, a woman has her temperature taken.
Medical staff at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.
A woman has her temperature checked at Lahore Railway station, Pakistan.
Empty Los Angeles, California.
A lone Sikh devotee pays his respects at the Golden Temple during a curfew imposed by the Indian government in Amritsar.
Father Norbert Abekan is driven through the street of Abidjan, in the Côte d’Ivoire, to tell his congregation not to be afraid and to respect the government's instructions.
A man walking his dog is disinfected in the Moroccan capital of Rabat.
Workers clear stalls at an informal market, ahead of disinfecting in the popular Medina neighbourhood in Dakar, Senegal.
A deserted market in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province.
A field hospital in the southern Gaza Strip.
Aircraft belonging to Southwest, the airline which carries the most domestic travellers in America, sit parked in Victorville, California.
Serbian military personnel set up a hall at the Belgrade Fair to accommodate coronavirus patients.
A severely ill patient at the Casal Palocco hospital, near Rome.
Gonzaga Yiga, a 49-year-old community chairperson, appeals to residents to stay inside, in Kampala, Uganda.
The Kaaba, inside Mecca's Grand Mosque, empty of worshippers after the kingdom suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage.
A temporary hospital for vulnerable people at the Fira centre in Barcelona.
A parish priest stands by one of the coffins stored in the church of San Giuseppe in Seriate, near Bergamo, Lombardy.
A police officer beats a female orange vendor on a street in Kampala, Uganda, after the country's President, Yoweri Museveni, directed the public to stay at home.
A worker makes face masks in Strabane, Northern Ireland.
Relatives carry a coffin to a new part of a cemetery opened especially for coronavirus cases, in Beykoz, Istanbul.
People are given free food from volunteers in Karachi, Pakistan.
Suspects are arrested by South African police for defying the lockdown.
Angel Bipendu (right), a doctor, visits an 80-year-old patient infected with Covid-19, as her daughter watches on.
A field hospital at Pacaembu stadium, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Prison inmates sleep in the crowded courtyard of the Quezon City jail in Manila, the Philippines.
Police inspector Rajesh Babu wears a coronavirus-themed helmet in Chennai, India.
A patient needing emergency assistance is loaded onto an ambulance in Mulhouse, eastern France.

 

Photographs by: Sascha Schuermann, Johannes Eisele, Apu Gomes, Antonio Masiello, Sebastian Enriquez, Spencer Platt, Jeffrey Basinger, Prakash Mathema, Noel Celis, John Wessels, Piero Cruciatti, Schneyder Mendoza, Christian Hernandez, Lex Van Lieshout, Yasser Al-Zayyat, Yasuyoshi Chiba, Musa Al Shaeri, Jack Taylor, Tolga Akmen, Luis Tato,  Arif Ali, David McNew, Narinder Nanu, Patrick Fort, Fadel Senna, Marco Di Lauro, Wagner Meier, Jahi Chikwendiu, Delil Souleiman, Suliman Heji, Patrick T. Fallon, Vladimer Zivojinovic, Alberto Pizzoli, Badru Katumba, Pau Barrena, Paul Faith, Asif Hassan, Luca Sola, Nelson Almeida, Arun Sankar, Sebastien Bozon, Ricardo Oliveira, Abdel Ghani Bashir

 

Getty Images, AFP, Washington Post, Bloomberg, Newsday

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