U.S. marks one year since coronavirus outbreak declared a pandemic

There's been remarkable progress in the last year as scientists rushed to create a vaccine against the coronavirus. But the pandemic also had a devastating impact, with the number of lives lost and on the economy. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.

Video Transcript

NORAH O'DONNELL: We'll carry President Biden's address to the nation beginning at 8:00 Eastern, 7:00 Central. And at this point a year ago, scientists at the National Institutes of Health were already working quickly toward developing one of America's first COVID vaccines, which wouldn't be available until nine months later. But tonight, as we look back on a year of COVID, we're seeing remarkable progress on the vaccine front. Here CBS's Jonathan Vigliotti.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: Tonight, promising news from Pfizer that could point to a way out of the pandemic. A study in Israel showing the vaccine is 94% effective at blocking asymptomatic cases, extremely important in reducing the spread. And Moderna says they're testing booster shots to fight off variants.

As vaccinations ramp up, so do reopenings. Tonight, Oklahoma becoming at least the third state in recent days to lift all restrictions.

- Oklahoma, we are on track to get our summer back.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: But this coming in the shadow of sobering news. A source confirming to CBS that a new report expected from the CDC will show the US death rate rose by 15% in 2020, officially making last year the deadliest in recorded history. One year ago, the pandemic paralyzed America. Sports arenas emptied.

- Tonight's game has been postponed.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: Seasons cut short. The normally bustling Times Square silenced, along with streets nationwide. The economy brought to a standstill. But COVID's most devastating impact first hit us here, outside the Life Care nursing home near Seattle, Washington. Each body bag an insidious prediction of the losses to come. 28% of residents here died. Families growing desperate.

- They're being held hostage in a Petri dish.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: Those who lost loved ones at nursing homes told it was too dangerous to say goodbye. People like Sally [INAUDIBLE], whose mother died.

- I would want to take her hand and tell her that it's OK to go, and I'll miss you every day more and more.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: It breaks my heart that you never got to tell your mom that.

- Mine, too.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: Last March, Dr. Deborah Birx made this stunning statement.

DEBORAH BIRX: We have grave concerns between 80,000 and 160,000, maybe even potentially 200,000 people succumbing to this. That's with mitigation.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: But it was about to get much worse.

ASHISH JHA: But I don't think we expected that a year later, half a million Americans would be dead.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: Dr. Ashish Jha says the US has stumbled on the road to recovery, but now--

ASHISH JHA: I do believe that the worst is behind us.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: And why do you feel so confident saying that?

ASHISH JHA: The ticket out of this pandemic is these vaccines. They are extraordinary. Then the pandemic comes to an end. We can have barbecues outside, we can get together with our families, we can hug each other. We can do all the things that really matter to us, if we can get vaccines into people's arms.

JONATHAN VIGLIOTTI: California has given 15 million doses at sites like this one, the most out of any state. And Alaska is the first in the country to give shots to anyone over 16. Doctors say we.