NPR's 40 Most Engaging And Popular Stories Of 2020
Mourning and celebrating; coping and distancing: 2020 has been a year of collective emotional dissonance. Even as the worst public health crisis in memory changed our lives, it also made us cherish bright moments where we found them.
We watched a high-stakes election play out — and sometimes we just wanted a distraction from it all.
Here are the NPR stories that hit home in 2020. They examine the complicated reality of life during a pandemic. They highlight moments of grace, surprise and persistence — and sometimes, stark disagreement.
Tens of thousands of new cases are reported daily nationwide.
"Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said.
Experts say to think of transmission risk with a helpful phrase: "time, space, people, place."
The FBI says sessions were "disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images" and threats.
Four people in Wuhan told NPR about testing positive a second time.
"The majority of transmission is probably going to be from respiratory droplets," an expert says.
Dr. Robert Redfield said, "This virus does have the ability to transmit far easier than flu. It's probably now about three times as infectious as flu.
In a dissent, Justice Samuel Alito accused the court majority of providing "no real protection for the presidency."
In late summer and fall, countries that had flattened the springtime curve began to see cases rise swiftly.
In Alabama, Blacks made up 44% of COVID-19 deaths, despite being under 27% of the population.
Most Engaging Stories
"I was surprised to see how much the grocery store had transformed. It even had a bouncer now."
Photographer Lynn Johnson says of Fred Rogers, "It was a delight being in his energy field."
The president downplayed the risk early on. He claimed "total" authority, before insisting the response is up to the states.
No one wants to touch anything in public — yet people still try to keep calm and keep up their spirits.
"I don't have the heart to tell my workers that there's no work and 'Find something else.' "
President Trump accepted his party's nomination and repeatedly invoked a sinister image of a "socialist agenda."
Stunning and colorful images trigger nostalgia for pre-pandemic life.
For more than two months, Wuhan's population of 11 million was put on a strict lockdown.
A 90th birthday party canceled: "My! What plans we had made, when his friends could be here / For a sunny picnic, some wine or some beer."
"After some initial frustration, we realized we just need to do things at our own pace and make sure to have fun."
Most Listened-To Stories
"She looked like a big, woolly minibus with a head on it."
Popular Long Reads
NPR's Andy Bickerton contributed to this report.
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