2021 Topical Reporting: Pandemic Coverage, Single Story winner

American Virus: How US Failed to Meet the Challenge of COVID-19

About the Project

Before the hundreds of thousands of deaths, the widespread financial devastation, the isolation from loved ones and the fatigue of a daily disaster with no clear end, there was this: A tickle in a throat in Chicago. A woman’s sudden crash to the floor of her kitchen in the Bay Area. A playwright in Manhattan with three-quarters of a lung left in his chest, sensing doom and fleeing down the coast with his husband.

In American Virus, USA TODAY staff writers Gus Garcia-Roberts and Erin Mansfield, along with narrative intern Caroline Anders, weaved together the stories of everyday Americans left to confront the novel coronavirus amid a failing official response at almost every governmental level.