2020 saw an unprecedented pandemic and global outcry for racial equality

“Nightline” tracked the pandemic through the eyes of front line workers, those struggling to make ends meet and more. Thousands took to the streets to demand equality for people of color.
11:49 | 12/25/20

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Transcript for 2020 saw an unprecedented pandemic and global outcry for racial equality
It's been a year of historic struggle, upheaval. Ourer "Nightline" team working through an unprecedented crisis, to keep our awed informed. Thank you for giving us a voice. We are grateful. We got touch because you were being open and pouring out your heart. If telling our story helps someone, I'm glad to do it. I am glad we can Sha stories like not alone. You are not alone. It was until I heard other people's stories that I felt seen. You are not alone and it sounds silly and cliche. I didn't ask for it, but I feel like I do have a voice. I can yell about this change. I can go to the meeting. I can demand this. Make sure that you just go out and make your voice heard. 2020 did not happen in a vacuum. There's been events in history that you read about and then there's moments and things happening around you and realize -- oh, my god. I'm witnessing history. Amidst that hee -- that turmoil heroes emerged. We got the news that we would quarantined for 14 days here. And we watched in disbelief as it spread across the united States like wild fire. We will once again devote "Nightline" to the latest crisis. The covid-19 outbreak. From nursing homes in Washington. If she gets sick she will be gone. If she has to sit in a room by herself for days on hand, she will go down hill fast. So the epi-center in New York City, we tracked the virus as it left tragic in its wake. He was still really in bad shape, temperature of 104. Tell me that moment, Amanda, where you had T side. I got in the scar and drove away without him and I just felt panic. Watching my son over a computer screen in icu, and not being able to be there with him is the most horrifying experience that we have. And we were on the front lines as the medical community scrambled to understand the virus while treating thousands of new patients. This patient tested positive for coronavirus at this time. You can see that there's mored a normal lung than normal lung. Doctors, health care workers and volunteers we salute them all tonight, risking their own live looks and families to keep us safe. And joining us now, Dr. Randal Curtis who is just coming off nine straight days of grueling 12 hour shifts in Seattle's harbor view medical center. This is different, usually we are completely open, visiting hours, families come and stay. That part of it is very difficult. Michael has been an icu nurse for 25 years. But the past feweeks have left emotional scars. I had a 35-year-old patient die, you know, on me the other day with nothing significant in his medical history. And I had just spoken to his had wife. And you know, that his family loved him and missed him. And just tried to say the thing-ss that I thought I might want to hear if it was me. Some went from one crisis zone to another, traveling nurse Bridget Harrigan, leaving a packed icu in queens to head to Arizona. I have been to hospitals before, where the census was over flowing but this was on another level. Seeing it in my opinion as bad as it can get, that compelled me to come and help. We gained guided access in the medical center in Brooklyn had. Reporting on the pandemicnd watching history unfold on our watch is the kind of reporting that is in our did DNA. 40 years ago, "Nightline" emerged from ABC news coverage of the Iran hostage crisis. Ted Koppel, this is a new broadcast in the sense that it is permanent and it will continue after the Iran crisis is over. And now we are reporting every night on the single most consequential crisis in the country. Family are struggling to put food on the table. These are applications for loans. E-mails that I reply to. The lovely unemployment letter of denial. Army veteran Danny smiley in Kansas lost his job as an athletic trainer in a school. Quick update on how the meeting went. Apologize, I'm still nervous and shaky and in shock, it went as expected. So, there you have it. 17 years in a box. And Melanie Martinez was laid of a Texas restaurant. What are you most in the worried about right now? What is most difficult for you right now? Paying my bills. That's what I am most worried about right now? I have rent to pay and I'm the only income for my hous you know, me and my daughter, totally up to me to provide for my hope. While living in lockdown, we relied on essential workers who kept our country going. Off and unsung and unseen. Like jamelli kromwell, the truck driver I met in the bronx, and Octavia French, a sanitation worker. What motivates me to come to work? I know what it feels like to not have a job. I have a 7-year-old son, he motivates me to keep going. I'm grateful that I'm an essential worker and I get a time to work and America needs us. Holding on to hope as loved ones spent weeks and months on ventilators with precious stories of grateful reunions. I was ready to give up. Then I had to remind myself of who I am. And whose I am. I'm the doctor that will take care of you. That as a nurse, it makes it worth it. Risking our LIV coming here every day, just seeing that reunion of a husband and a wife. That was pretty special. welcome home! Daddy! Yeah! What was the first thing that you said to your daughters? That I love them. Hi! I'm so proud of you, how are you? I'm good. What did it feel like to put your arms around Aaron? Amazing. I felt so lucky to have him as my husband and so in love after ten years. Yeah, it's wonderful. The pandemic spotlighting the social divide in our country, we saw the virus's disproportion Nate impact on families. I was wearing a mask in my house 24/7. I blame America and the health care system. That's who I blame. I feel like it could have been prevented. And then on may 25th, another seismic shock. The calls for justice for George Floyd growing louder. When George Floyd called out for his mother. It was a cry to all mothers and the nation responded with outrage and empathy. After months of being locked inside. The it was like a damn had burst. Thousands of people flooded in to the streets wearing gas masks instead of face masks. There's an endless sea of protesters. They are let willing you go. Calling out systemic racism and inequality. Demanding justice and change. What word do you describe George Floyd? Enormous. He was a person that filled the with love. And know we are all men here. Raise your hand if you shed a tear after you watched the video? Absolutely. After hearing from countless grieving mothers. Families, loved ones, had our nation reached a had moral awakening? From the question came the landmark series, a special broadcast under the title "Turning point," focused on what mere owes in reparations, from intimate perspective. No more! When I first found out that my ancestors were enslaved, felt there should be justice that comes out of it. The only way we can over come our past is we have to confront and acknowledge what happened and then we have to fight to make it right. A whole community filed away in the box. Closed until I decide to O it and talk about it. People are misinformed about what native people look like. How native people are supposed to look. There are native people on the subways, there's native people walking down the streets. We are a land based people. Half of on our soul was here before Columbus hit the sand. It's the first Latino issue in the country and it's still When you go to give birth as a woman of color, you should not be four types more likely to die than our white counterparts. After everything we did to plan, after every precaution was taken this was still the outcome. That she is dead. Like gone. With the distribution of covid-19 vaccine under way, vulnerable communities over-riding their history in hesitation with hope. We have to step forward and not bead to the make our lives better. This year, like all the years, we have tried to tell stories often ignored by others. It's the passion of our team of journalists that brought us to the end of 2020, telling your stories, our stories with heart, compassion and hopefully some understanding. And so on this this christmas we thank you for going on this journey with us. We wish you and yours strength and good health in 2021. Here is hoping for a better

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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