Trending February 2024 # The 12 Best Characters In Apex Legends # Suggested March 2024 # Top 9 Popular

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Struggling to choose the best characters in Apex Legends? You can use this guide to learn the abilities, playstyles, and ranking for each legend in the game.

Think of this as the ultimate guide for getting to grips with the characters and deciding who you want to play.

Table of Contents

Apex Legends Season 4 Character Tier List

As of Season 4, Apex Legends has 12 different characters. We’ve listed them based on their abilities, gameplay potential, and their hitbox size.


Wraith is amongst the best characters in Apex Legends. She has everything going for her. Wraith is a legend with a range of skills perfect for positioning. Wraith also has the smallest hitbox in the game, making her very hard to hit.

What Are Wraith’s Abilities?

Into The Void: Allows her to disappear from sight. She cannot take damage during this time, but a trail of light will follow her position.

Dimensional Rift: Lets her create two portals that link together. It’s perfect for escaping dangerous situations.

Low profile perk: Because of her small hitbox, Wraith takes 5% extra damage.

What Playstyle is Suited For Wraith Players?

Wraith’s abilities offer great escape opportunities, making her a great legend for aggressive players.


Pathfinder is one of the best characters in Apex Legends for many of the same reasons as Wraith. Pathfinder has a tactical ability focused on personal mobility and an ultimate ability focused on moving teammates quickly. Pathfinder also has a very small hitbox.

What Are Pathfinder’s Abilities?

Insider Knowledge: Allows Pathfinder to scan survey beacons in the world to reveal the next ring’s location.

Grappling Hook: Can fling Pathfinder in any direction. This ability can be mastered and it’s the best movement ability in Apex Legends.

Zipline Gun: Can create a large zipline that anybody can travel on at increased speed, perfect for entering or escaping fights.

Due to his small hitbox, Pathfinder also has the low profile perk.

What Playstyle is Suited For Pathfinder Players?

Pathfinder is an excellent legend for anyone that wants to play aggressively. You can push into a fight with your ultimate and use your grapple at any time to escape, and you’ll never have to worry about somebody catching up with you.


Gibraltar is the third best character in Apex Legends, despite having the biggest hitbox. This is thanks to the gun shield that blocks most of his upper body when he aims down sights. Gibraltar’s healing and protection abilities also make him a strong team player.

What Are Gibraltar’s Abilities?

Gun Shield: Creates a shield around his upper body when aiming down sights. The shield can block 50 damage.

Dome of Protection: Gibraltar can place a dome shield that can block all damage. Players in the dome shield can use healing items 25% faster and Gibraltar can revive teammates in the dome shield 25% faster.

Defensive Bombardment: An air strike will fall on your position. The missiles from the airstrike will deal 40 damage each.

Fortified Perk: Gibralter takes 15% less damage and cannot be slowed by bullets when shot at like other legends.

What Playstyle is Suited For Gibraltar Players?

Gibraltar is a great legend for players that want to support their team. But don’t get it wrong, Gibraltar is excellent for playing aggressively too.


Wattson is another legend with a small hitbox, but she also has great abilities for setting up camp. She’s the perfect defensive legend.

What Are Wattson’s Abilities?

Spark of Genius: Allows her to fill her ultimate charge with just one ultimate accelerant. She can also get faster tactical recharge time when standing near her ultimate.

Perimeter Security. Wattson can place fence poles that, when placed together, will create an electric fence. Enemies that walk through the fence will take damage and slow.

Interception Pylon: Wattson can place a pylon down that can destroy any incoming ordnance and will repair shields slowly over time.

Wattson also has the low profile perk.

What Playstyle is Suited For Wattson Players?

Wattson is the perfect legend for those who like to play defensively. She’s an excellent option for ranked players because she can hold down areas well.


Bangalore has abilities that give her great positioning power and fast movement. She also has a small hitbox, but doesn’t have the low profile perk.

What Are Bangalore’s Abilities?

Double Time: Boosts her speed by 30% for a short time every time bullets land near her.

Smoke Launcher: Can be used to cloud an area with smoke. You get two charges and each charge takes 30 seconds to replenish.

Rolling Thunder: Can call in an artillery strike. It blankets an area with missiles that slowly explode. It’s great for repositioning in dangerous fights.

What Playstyle is Suited For Bangalore Players?

Bangalore is a great legend for those who like to outplay enemies with smart repositioning. You can use all of her abilities to quickly confuse enemies and start an attack from another position.


Lifeline is a legend perfect for supporting players. She has great healing abilities and a loot packed airdrop as her ultimate. Unfortunately, Lifeline lacks any repositioning or defensive abilities, making her weaker than most other legends ranked above her.

What Are Lifeline’s Abilities?

Combat Medic: Allows her to revive teammates 25% faster. When reviving, a shield wall will appear in the direction she’s facing. Lifeline can also personally use healing items 25% faster.

D.O.C Heal Drone: Allows Lifeline to place a small drone that can heal Lifeline and her teammates when standing nearby.

Care Package: Allows Lifeline to drop a care package. It will have three utility or healing items inside.

Lifeline also has the 5% increased damage low profile perk.

What Playstyle is Suited For Lifeline Players?

Lifeline is a great legend for those who want to support their team. Unfortunately, many of Lifeline’s perks can be found on Gibraltar, potentially making him a better option for the same role.


Crypto is a unique legend with powerful recon skills. You can use Crypto to control a drone that can be used for checking an area for players.

What Are Crypto’s Abilities?

Neurolink: Allows Crypto and his teammates to see the outline of players that are scanned by his drone.

Surveillance Drone: Allows Crypto to control a drone that can survey the area. The drone will scan enemies within 30 meters.

Drone EMP: Will charge up a large EMP blast that will do 50 shield damage, slow enemies, and disable traps.

What Playstyle is Suited For Crypto Players?

Crypto is perfect for those who like preparing a more tactical approach before engaging in a fight. Because Crypto has to stay still when activating his drone, he can be very vulnerable. You need good situational awareness to use Crypto successfully. 


Bloodhound is another recon legend, like Crypto, but tracking skills are far more active. Use Bloodhound to scout areas and know exactly where people are before starting a fight.

What Are Bloodhound’s Abilities?

Tracker: Will leave clues such as player footsteps on your screen.

Eye Of The Allfather: Will briefly reveal enemies, traps and clues within a large radius in front of Bloodhound. All enemies are tracked through walls too.

Beast Of The Hunt: All players are highlighted, your vision goes dark, and you can move 30% faster for 35 seconds. If you knock down a player during your ultimate, the timer will increase by 5 seconds.

What Playstyle is Suited For Bloodhound Players?

Bloodhound is excellent for hunting down players, so they’re an excellent pick for those who struggle to understand the environment through other, more subtle clues. 


Caustic is a great defensive legend that’s hard to master. While not considered amongst the best characters in Apex Legends, he can definitely outplay other legends with some practice.

What Are Caustic’s Abilities?

Nox Vision: Allows Caustic to see the outlines of any enemies that move through Caustic’s gas.

Nox Gas Trap: Allows Caustic to place up to 6 gas canisters that automatically release gas when an enemy is nearby or when shot.

Nox Gas Grenade: Allows Caustic to throw a grenade that blooms into a large area of gas at the location thrown.

All of Caustic’s gas damage stacks over time, and only deals directly to health, ignoring shields. Caustic also has the fortified perk, which means 15% less incoming damage and no slows from bullets.

What Playstyle is Suited For Caustic Players?

Caustic is a powerful defensive legend, but he takes a lot of skill to master. He’s suited for those who have patience but want to master a character that can force one versus one fights against players with his gas.


Octane is a legend that makes us believe he can move fast, but those abilities put him in danger. Octane may be a fun legend to play, but he isn’t viable competitively. 

What Are Octane’s Abilities?

Swift Mend: Allows Octane to gradually regain health over time when not taking damage.

Stim: Allows Octane to move 30% faster for 6 seconds. The stim costs 10 health to use, but it can be used every two seconds. Sounds fun, but Pathfinder’s grapple is still faster, and Bloodhound’s ultimate moves at the same speed with no risk to health.

Launch Pad: Deploys a jump pad that can launch players in the air. This ability can be good for getting to high places.

What Playstyle is Suited For Octane Players?

Octane is a legend that’s there for those who want to recklessly push fights, have fun, and not worry about the consequences. There are better legends that fit this role, so consider Pathfinder or Bloodhound before taking Octane.


Mirage is a trickster who can create clones of himself to confuse enemies or use holo technology to hide. Unfortunately, Mirage’s abilities only work when others are fooled, making him difficult to use against experienced players.

What Are Mirage’s Abilities?

Encore!: With this, you will go invisible for 5 seconds and create a fake decoy of yourself when you get knocked down.

Psyche Out: Will send a decoy of yourself in the direction you point.

Vanishing Act: Will make a ring of decoys appear on your position and you’ll also go invisible.

What Playstyle is Suited For Mirage Players?

Mirage is great for those who just want a bit of fun with his trickster themed abilities. He’s not particularly useful for the team and lacks any mobility.


Revenant may be the newest character in Apex Legends, but he has a big hitbox problem, making him easy to hit. His abilities offer some potential for flanking unaware players, but they need serious work before Revenant can rank higher.

What Are Revenant’s Abilities?

Stalker: Allows Revenant to climb walls higher and crouch walk higher. You are almost completely silent when crouch walking.Silence: Allows Revenant to throw a device that can damage players and disable their abilities for 10 seconds.

Death Totem: Lets Revenant place a totem. When a player activates the totem, they will enter shadow mode. In this mode, you’ll only take health damage. If all of your health damage depletes, you’ll appear back at the totem.

What Playstyle is Suited For Revenant?

Revenant is great for players who want to sneak up on their enemies or set up calculating flanks. There’s no other legend like Revenant, but you should be aware of his flaws before playing him.


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How To Convert Incoming Voice Chat To Text In Apex Legends.

If you have recently switched from your usual battle royale game to Apex Legends, you’ve probably jumped straight into the action without exploring some of the games more in-depth features. If so, make sure you take a few minutes to appreciate some of the games finer details, like the ability to convert all voice chat into text.

How to Use an Android Device as a Wireless Microphone on Windows 10.

For anyone who is a big fan of battle royale games like PUBG, Fortnite, and more recently Black Ops 4. Apex Legends manages to take some of the best aspects of each and merge them with an Overwatch inspired character system. Although this sounds a little strange from a written perspective, the results are surprisingly fun and if you’ve already logged a ton of hours in-game, you know exactly what we mean.

As well as a completely unique take on battle royale, Apex Legends has quite a few interesting quality of life features that you’ll find yourself using throughout the game. The Ping system is by far the most useful, so useful in fact that you’ll notice most players don’t even bother using voice chat anymore. That being said, there are still plenty of occasions voice chat still comes in handy, especially as the zone starts to shrink into really close quarters combat.

Another interesting feature of Apex Legends that hasn’t got as much attention as it should is voice to text conversion. With this enabled any spoken content and commands are instantly converted to text and displayed in-game via the text chat interface. Surprisingly it’s also extremely accurate and hasn’t managed to completely misinterpret anything I’ve spoken… So far. Although this feature probably isn’t for everyone, there are a lot of people who will find it interesting, so follow along as we show you how to enable it.  

Related: How to Mute Teammates and Players in Apex Legends. (Xbox, PC, PS4)

How Do You Convert Incoming Voice Chat to Text in Apex Legends? (Voice to Text)

Another Suggestion While You Have Apex Legends Open.

Make sure you check out the following Apex Legends article which will show you how to disable the games default setting that shares usage data and system information with EA. Although this information is very helpful for optimizing the game early on, it is something you are probably going to want to disable as soon as possible.

How to Disable Data Collection in Apex Legends. (Apex Legends Usage Sharing)

Apex Legends Error Codes And How To Fix Them

Apex Legends is a great game without any doubt. It’s been played and loved by many. However, one can not shy away from the fact that it’s sprinkled with a lot of errors. In this article, we are going to talk about Apex Legends error codes and how to fix them. We will be seeing all the major error codes and messages that one can see while playing Apex Legends. So, without wasting any time, let us hop into it.

How do I fix error code on Apex Legends?

Before fixing the error code, you need to know what error code you are facing. There are a lot of error codes and messages one can face while playing or installing Apex Legends. That is why it is important to find solutions for your error. We have mentioned all the common error codes one can face while playing Apex Legends. So, first of all, study the error message properly and see which error code you are facing. Then, check solutions for that error.

Apex Legends error codes

The following are some of the most common Apex Legends error codes.

Apex Legends Error Code: 23

Apex Legends Error Code: 100

Apex Legends Error Code: 4294967287

Apex Legends won’t launch or crashing

Apex Legends Error Code: CE-34878-0

Apex Legends Error Code: DXGI_ERROR_DEVICE_HUNG

Apex Legends Code:Leaf, Code:Net, Code:Wheel

Apex Legends Error Code: Party Leader Quit or Party Not Ready

Apex Legends Error Code: Shoe

Let us troubleshoot them.

1] Apex Legends Error Code: 23

Error Code: 23 comes with Game Client encountered an application error. If you are seeing this error, try the following solutions to resolve the issue.

Check your Accounts: You need to make sure that your EA Account and Origin Profile has the same language, country, and region.

Rollback drivers: For some users, rolling back the driver to the previous version worked. You can also try to roll back your recently updated driver and see if the issue persists.

Update all the drivers: To update your drivers, you can visit the manufacturer’s website or download a free driver update software

Also Check: 

2] Apex Legends Error Code: 100

If you are unable to complete sign in and are seeing error code 100, check if the server of Origin and Apex Legends is down. You can try a free down detector to know your server status. If the server is down or under maintenance, the only thing you can do is wait for the issue to be resolved. Also make sure that the date, time, and timezone of your platform and EA account are the same.

3] Apex Legends Error Code: 4294967287

When installing Apex Legends on a Windows computer, many users are seeing the following error message along with the error code in question.

Error: A redistributable package (DirectX) was not installed successfully. Setup cannot continue.

Error code: 4294967287 seems like it is related to DirectX. But in reality, DirectX is the only cause of this issue. Following are some of the solutions to resolve the issue.

Download and install the latest version of DirectX.

Troubleshoot in Clean Boot and find out the culprit.

Disable all antivirus programs such as Avast, and Norton before installing the game.

Redownload the installation package and retry.

Hopefully, these solutions will do the trick for you.

4] Apex Legends won’t launch or crashing

If Apex Legends is crashing on your computer with some keywords such as apex_crash.txt or chúng tôi then try repairing the game files using Origin launcher. Following are the steps to do the same.

Launch Origin.

Go to the My Game Library tab and select Apex Legend.

If that doesn’t work, then check our guide on what to do if Apex Legends won’t open.

5] Apex Legends Error Code: CE-34878-0 6]  Apex Legends Error Code: DXGI_ERROR_DEVICE_HUNG

DXGI_ERROR_DEVICE_HUNG comes with the following error message.

DXGI_ERROR_DEVICE_HUNG The applications device failed due to badly formed commands snt by the application. This is an design-time issue that should be investigated and fixed.

To fix it, you need to update your Graphics Drivers. Usually, it’s a dedicated GPU that’s causing the problem such as NVIDIA or AMD. However, we would recommend you update both integrated and dedicated drivers.

7] Apex Legends Code:Leaf, Code:Net, Code:Wheel

All the three error codes in question occur because of some sort of network issue. Following are the solutions you can try to resolve.

Restart your router and modem.

Reboot your computer.

Try ethernet cable.

Release IP, Reset Winsock, Flush DNS

Hopefully, this will do the trick for you.

8] Apex Legends Out of Sync with server

9] Apex Legends Error Code: Party Leader Quit or Party Not Ready

If Apex Legends says “Party Leader Quit” or “Party Not Ready”, then try the following solutions and see if they work. Since the issue is nothing more than a glitch, the solutions are pretty basic.

Leave the party and retry joining.

Create another party and ask others to join.

Go to Main Menu and then to lobby and retry.

Switch Play Apex to Training and then back to Pay Apex.

This should do the job for you.

9] Apex Legends Error Code: Shoe

Error Code: Show in Apex Legends can be caused by various things. One would argue that reinstalling the game is the best option in this case, but according to me, you need to execute some solutions and see if they work. Try out the following solutions and see if they help in resolving the problem.

Go to Settings and lower the Video Memory.

Restart your network devices.

Reset your network.

These solutions should resolve the issue for you.

What are the Apex Legends codes?

Some other Apex Legends issues:

Best Wallet Cases For Iphone 12 And 12 Pro In 2023

Although luxurious and feature-rich, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and 12 Pro display doesn’t easily fit in the pocket along with a thick wallet. Moreover, stuffing them in your backpack makes them hard to reach. That’s where the wallet cases come to your rescue.

They offer a blend of smartphone and wallet in a compact, handy package, making it easier to tote around without adding the bulk.

Wondering which case is right for you? I have rounded up this list of the best iPhone 12 and 12 Pro wallet cases for you. Let’s get started!

1. OtterBox Strada series: Wallet case with 3x military-grade protection

When it comes to crafting sleek, sophisticated, protective cases, Otterbox is amongst the forerunners. No wonder that its wallet variant lends 3x drop protection than military standards.

You can hold up to 3 slim cards in the front flip, and thanks to the handy thumb hole, accessing them is super convenient. The genuine leather exterior lends a great hand feel, and while I love the idea of volume tabs embossing, it doesn’t quite work that well.


Magnetic flap

Limited lifetime warranty

 MIL-STD protection


Slightly expensive

Volume buttons are stiff initially

Check out on Amazon

2. Twelve South BookBook: A smart leather case and wallet

Want to own a cover that stands out in the crowd? Does a small, handy book folio interest you? If yes, then my friend, you don’t need to look beyond Twelve South’s BookBook case.

Everything from the full-grain leather, book-like spine to the soft microfiber lining oozes a luxe feel. I totally adore that you can detach the magnetic inner casing, lending me the freedom to go with or without a wallet as per my whim!


Out-of-the-box look

Detachable inner casing

Great materials



The kickstand doesn’t work smoothly

Check out on Amazon

3. Bellroy iPhone 12 & 12 Pro wallet case: Best secret card holder

I have been floored by the Bellroy case from the day I saw Dhvanesh Adhiya, CEO & founder of iGeeksBlog, using it for his iPhone 11 Pro Max. The hand feel is class apart, plus the color looked fresh even after months of use.

The not-so-secret pocket can easily hold up to 3 cards. And thanks to its magnetic closure, they are safely tucked inside until you need them. There’s more! The case also has a sneaky pocket for a spare SIM and pin.

Although not amongst the thinnest iPhone cases, Bellroy sure has some impressive tricks up its sleeve.


Hidden magnetic pocket

Gorgeous colors

Great hand feel


Slightly heavy

Quite expensive

Buy it from Bellroy

4. i-Blason cosmo wallet case: A quirky casing for your iPhone 12

Why stick to boring single-toned cases when i-Blason offers an adorable marble design, day-to-day protection, and card pocket in a single package. And at just 0.12″, it doesn’t add much bulk to your device.

I recently reviewed the cover and am glad to report that the print looks amazing in person. And even though the case is uber flexible, the bumper feels quite sturdy & protective.


Thumb access to cards

Great prints



Feels slippery

Cards/cash are visible

Check out on Amazon

5. Spigen slim armor CS: Case with air cushion technology

As the name suggests, Spigen doubles as armor for your device. All thanks to its dual-layer design that combines shock-absorbing TPU interior and polycarbonate exterior.

Also, it incorporates air-cushion technology and raised bezels. The back section slides out to reveal a card slot for up to 2 cards. Somehow, I always get an industrial vibe from this one, so bear that in mind before tapping that buy button.


Protects from shocks and drops

Functional design

Value for money


Slippery hand feel

A bit heavy

Check out on Amazon

6. Case-Mate tough leather wallet folio: Compatible with wireless charging

When it comes to quality cases, Case-Mate is amongst the pioneers. And their version of wallet folio for iPhone 12 and 12 Pro certainly stands up to the quality standards you expect from the brand.

The front leather flip can house up to 4 cards and boasts a separate pocket to stash some cash. Along with that, it doubles as a landscape stand to allow hands-free viewing.



Textured leather for better grip

Wireless charging-compatible


The back is TPU, not covered with leather

Check out on Amazon

7. Apple leather wallet with MagSafe: The snap on/off alternative

While not really a case, this one is an excellent accessory for your iPhone 12 & 12 Pro.  The European leather pouch features strong built-in magnets, thanks to which you can effortlessly stack it on/off your device as per need.

It fits up to 2-3 cards and can be stacked upon your existing MagSafe case. Additionally, the wallet in the case is shielded, so your cards remain safe at all times. And if you like some pop of colors, the California poppy, saddle brown, or Baltic blue could be great options.


Built-in Magsafe


Not too bulky


Doesn’t work nicely with non-MagSafe cases

Check out on Amazon

8. URBAN ARMOR GEAR (UAG) folio cover: Provide increased shock protection

For a perfect mixture of convenience and utility, UAG combines a FIBR ARMR with a drop-tested armor shell. The high-strength abrasion-resistant folio cover offers 360-degree protection without hindering device access.

On top of it all, the cover maintains a dramatically slim, lint-resistant, friction-free, and lightweight form factor. It could house up to 3 credit cards and become a viewing stand as and when you need it to be.


Military drop-test standards

Lightweight construction

Looks sporty


Not many color options

Lack of magnetic clasp

Check out on Amazon

Keep your iPhone 12 and cards together with these wallet cases!

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are majestic devices, both in terms of power and looks. A perfect accessory would be something that compliments & manifold their utility. Wallet cases do just that in addition to much-needed protection.

Want more options for your iPhone 12 and 12 Pro? Check the below articles: 

Author Profile


A self-professed Geek who loves to explore all things Apple. I thoroughly enjoy discovering new hacks, troubleshooting issues, and finding and reviewing the best products and apps currently available. My expertise also includes curating opinionated and honest editorials. If not this, you might find me surfing the web or listening to audiobooks.

12/12/12 Google Zeitgeist Shows Top Google Searches In 2012

Google has just compiled its 12th annual Zeitgeist — its list of top global trending searches for the year — and guess what? Somehow, the search term “Gangnam Style” didn’t make it to the top of the pile.

Instead, that honor goes to the late singer “Whitney Houston”, who beat K-Pop star Psy’s hit song down into second place as the most searched-for thing on the web this year, just ahead of “Hurricane Sandy” in third, and “iPad 3”, which came in fourth.

Houston’s untimely death last February resulted in an explosion of web users searching for information about her fate, and it seems that her popularity has endured throughout the remainder of the year.

“While there are perennial themes – ‘what is love?’ topped the list in ten countries – it’s the unusual and surprising that caught our attention in 2012,” explains Amit Singhal on the Google Blog.

Had Ms Houston not passed away, first place would have almost certainly belonged to “Gangnam Style”, the global dance phenomenon which has attracted more than 930 million views on YouTube to become that site’s most-watched video of all time.

“PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ signature dance took the world by storm,” added Singhal.

But our interests certainly weren’t just limited to pop stars in 2012. Natural disasters are always a big hit on search engines whenever we’re unfortunate enough to fall victim to them, as “Hurricane Sandy” illustrates by its third place rank. Meanwhile, the inclusion of “iPad 3” in the top four shows that no matter how many Android devices Samsung wheel into the stores, they’ll probably never win over the legions of iOS devotees.

Google’s Zeitgeist has been rolling out around this time each year ever since 2001, and gives us an array of insights into the biggest search trends around the globe.

The term “election 2012” was the third most-searched for trend in the United States after Whitney and Sandy. Sadly for our favorite rapper Psy, netizens in the US weren’t ‘quite’ so impressed with the originality of his dance routines, as “Gangnam Style” slipped down to a lowly eighth place.

Events and people are the two categories that almost always top the list of trending searches, and so it’s interesting to see that Princess Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, featured highly in both of these lists. “Kate Middleton” was the second-most searched for person in 2012, whilst “Kate Middleton Pictures Released” (we’re assuming the wedding photos and not the topless ones) came in second in the list of events.

Lastly, one new inclusion in Google’s Zeitgeist this year is the list of top trending Google+ hashtags, which reveals that more than just a few people are in agreement with Google that the web should remain ‘free and open’. The most popular hashtag this year was “#SOPA”, followed by the slightly unoriginal “#Awesome”, with “#Sandy” once again rearing its ugly head in third place.

12 Months Of Pandemic Life In 12 Photographs

There are certain sights that people have grown habituated—and even numb—to in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. We may have forgotten what it’s like to read someone’s facial expressions now that we’re always masked up in public. And we’ve probably grown accustomed to sanitizer dispensers greeting us in every school, store, and office.

Point is, the status quo has changed dramatically from last March to this March. Even if life slips back to normal with vaccinations, some scenes and symbols will always be inseparable from this global health disaster we’ve been fighting. Let’s take a look at 12 from around the US.

The Minnesota National Guard conducts a nasal swab test on a potential COVID-19 patient. Sgt. Linsey Williams/Minnesota National Guard

The extra-long swab used in early COVID-19 tests became somewhat of a meme in the first months of the pandemic. People described a tickling sensation in their brain, or even a stabbing pain, after getting brushed by a health care worker. But the intimidating length of the swab was important: Because the virus attacked the respiratory system, it could leave an imprint anywhere between the nasal passage and the back of the throat. Today, most tests use a simple saliva strip to collect a cell sample, albeit with weaker results.

Spiky Sars-CoV-2 particles emerge from a lab cell culture. NIAID

Most folks are familiar with the pom-pom-like illustration of the coronavirus shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But what does the pathogen look like in real life? Epidemiologists at the National Institute of Health took microscopic scans of Sars-CoV-2 in action to see just how the spike proteins on its surface infiltrate and bind to cells in various human organs. The colorized results helped boost public knowledge about how viruses form, operate, and ultimately, mutate.

A chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear response team sanitizes a state office in Charleston, West Virginia. Edwin L. Wriston/US Army National Guard

The phrase “deep clean” took on a new meaning in the pandemic, especially in the early months, when there was little understanding of how the virus was transmitted. Municipal workers and custodial staff used disinfectant wipes, sanitizing sprays, and even UV lights to prep mass transit and other public spaces for reopening. Not everyone had the same kind of personal protective equipment as specialized hazmat teams: Last April, New York City reported dozens of COVID-19 deaths among janitors.

The sun looked apocalyptic after wildfires burned through Northern California for weeks. Jeffrey Schwartz/Deposit Photos

The 2023 wildfire season didn’t stop for COVID-19. In fact, it burned harder than ever in California, with two giant blazes blanketing the counties around the Bay Area. Fires in the southern half of the state, plus Washington and Oregon, lasted through much of summer and fall, creating heavy plumes of smoke that could be seen all the way from space. The particles also blew east, resulting in smoggy, scarlet sunsets over the Midwest and Northeast.

CT scans reveal the damage COVID-19 can wreak (right) on typically healthy lungs (left). Vancouver Coastal Health

While the slate of COVID-19 symptoms is long and mysterious, many patients seem to come down with pneumonia or worse, go into respiratory failure. Studies on some of these deadly cases show that the virus makes a beeline for lung tissue, causing the cells to grow, inflame, and even clot. Now, patients hospitalized for the virus automatically get a CT scan as part of their diagnostic test. Medical researchers in Canada and elsewhere are also using artificial intelligence to detect more subtle signs of disease in the lungs.

Last summer the NBA collaborated with Microsoft Teams to bring fans to its “bubble.” Microsoft

After an initial hiatus last spring, the NBA and WNBA took a dramatic approach to make sports happen again. Both leagues set up isolated player-only facilities in Florida where all training, games, and rest would take place. To bring fans in on the action, the NBA adapted Microsoft Teams’ video chat software to 17-foot-high digital screens, giving the appearance that there were raucous people in the stands. Other leagues settled for cutouts and streamed-in sounds until they could open their stadiums and arenas for real.

A student at Phoenix International Academy works behind a plexiglass barrier during the fall 2023 semester. US Department of Education

A year into the pandemic, school reopening continues to be a hot-button issue across the country. Some districts have chosen to stay completely online, while others have tested hybrid learning where kids rotate through classrooms and at-home lessons. College campuses small and large did the same, drawing on deep resources to mandate testing in dorms and among staff. For schools that did let students return to their lockers and desks, however, there were some common precautions: masks, physical barriers, and ventilation to help keep infection rates across the community low.

NIAID director Anthony Fauci got his first Moderna shot near the end of December. Chia-Chi Charlie Chan/NIH

It took Anthony Fauci 52 years to become a household American name. He’s been working for the National Institute of Health since 1968, and became the director of the allergy and infectious diseases division in 1984. That role catapulted him to the front of the country’s COVID-19 response last year, even as other government entities tried to suppress and alter science-backed recommendations. Fauci continues to help lead the Biden administration’s coronavirus task force.

Lanterns at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. honored the 400,000 people who died of COVID-19 in the US. National Park Service

Last May the US passed the 100,000 death mark for COVID-19. Then in September, 200,000. In December, 300,000. The mortality rate picked up so quickly that by the presidential inauguration this January, the count had pushed beyond 400,000. The 500,000 mark came soon after on February 23, 2023. It’s the highest number of lives lost of any country in the world.

Disposable masks have become commonplace in trash bins, parks, and streets. Nito193/Deposit Photos

It took the world a while to catch on to wearing a mask every day last spring, due to questions around how effective they could be at blocking out SARS-CoV-2. But we now know that there’s a hierarchy: KN95, cloth, and then surgical. Still, disposable face coverings are cheap to buy and easy to distribute, and now they’re piling up as litter and trash. The impacts of the extra plastic have yet to be measured, but environmentalists are already seeing the telltale blue swatches wash up on beaches everywhere.

The crowds at the San Antonio Food Bank in Texas have not let up in 2023. San Antonio Food Bank

With jobs, schools, and community services shuttered, the US hunger crisis hit a drastic peak in 2023. Estimates from Feeding America hold that at least 50 million adults and children struggled to secure three square meals a day during the pandemic, all while farmers had to dump their overflowing stores. The impacts of this have been seen at donor-supplied pantries across the nation. The San Antonio Food Bank, for instance, has had nearly twice as many people lining up at its doors each day since COVID-19 started to spread.

Protesters faced down waves of tear gas and pepper spray in Kansas City, Missouri, last summer. “I attended the event with an open mind,” the photographer says. “I got more than I bargained for.” Dominick Williams

Amid social distancing and coronavirus concerns, protesters around the globe found secure ways to demonstrate their First Amendment right in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. But in many places, police showed out in full force as well, often equipped with riot gear and crowd control weapons. Epidemiologists and physicians fretted that the rampant use of tear gas would damage people’s lungs and make them more vulnerable to long-term COVID-19 symptoms.

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