Time magazine's latest cover will mark an approaching milestone in the coronavirus pandemic — 200,000 related deaths in the US — with the headline "An American Failure" and an illustration within a black border for only the second time in its history.
The cover is made up of dates and death counts listed back to back, covering most of the page.
The words and numbers are enlarged and brought forward to form the number 200,000, the number of deaths the country is approaching.
Below that number are the words "An American failure" printed in bold red.
"A failure of leadership at many levels and across parties; a distrust of scientists, the media and expertise in general; and deeply ingrained cultural attitudes about individuality and how we value human lives have all combined to result in a horrifically inadequate pandemic response," the Time cover story reads. "COVID-19 has weakened the US and exposed the systemic fractures in the country, and the gulf between what this nation promises its citizens and what it actually delivers."
"Absent adequate leadership, it's been up to everyday Americans to band together in the fight against COVID-19. To some extent, that's been happening—doctors, nurses, bus drivers and other essential workers have been rightfully celebrated as heroes, and many have paid a price for their bravery. But at least some Americans still refuse to take such a simple step as wearing a mask," it added.
Time also tackles the race for the first coronavirus vaccine, which it argues could help bring the US back to "normality."
"Even if the COVID-19 vaccines don't provide 100% protection against infection, they could provide a huge boost toward that return to normality," it said. "But how quickly that happens will depend as much on the science behind them as on the humanity that determines where those vaccines go.
"What's being tested is more than the new technologies and the latest virus—fighting strategies encased in each injection. It's also our willingness to be blind to the physical as well as social and economic borders that divide us to combat a virus that holds no such biases."
The death toll from COVID-19 stands at more than 191,000 in the US. President Trump's handling of the pandemic is one of the top issues ahead of the election, which is less than eight weeks away.
Time was sold to Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff for $190 million in 2018. It also used a black border on an illustration after the 9/11 terror attacks.