By Kelly Servick, Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, Catherine Matacic

Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Ready or not, the patients were coming. This time last year, physicians around the world prepared, most for the first time in their careers, to treat a new disease—over and over and over again.

“There was a terrible sense of foreboding, like in a movie when the minor key music starts playing,” says Robert Arntfield, a critical care physician at Western University in London, Canada.

In Wuhan, China, the doctors who first encountered the pandemic coronavirus raced to share surprising symptoms and possible treatments with far-flung colleagues.

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