From the very beginning of the pandemic, documentary makers around the world have been hard at work creating films that capture the many impacts of Covid-19. The resulting documentaries explore a wide range of topics, from how individuals are coping with quarantine to how governments and healthcare systems are responding to this crisis. These films provide not only an understanding of what life during a global pandemic looks like, but also valuable insights into the dynamics of our societies and cultures. Whether you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of how this virus has changed our lives or simply seeking inspiring stories of resilience, these documentaries are sure to enlighten and educate.
1. Coronavirus Pandemic (full documentary)
The U.S. is now the world leader in coronavirus cases, with more than 6 million confirmed infections and nearly 200,000 deaths as of October 2020. From ignoring early warnings to politicizing public health measures, FRONTLINE and Miles O’Brien explore how the nation got here—and what it might take to turn things around. Through interviews with key players in the American response to COVID-19, they reveal a nation divided—and the dangers of mixing politics and science. It’s an urgent and timely investigation into how we got here—and where we go from here. Tune in to FRONTLINE on your local PBS station to find out more.
2. How India United Against Its Deadly COVID-19 Wave
The heroes of this battle are the volunteers who dedicated their time and services to help those in need. In unprecedented times, they tapped into their skillsets – whether it be medical professionals or IT engineers – and used them for the greater good. With no thought to themselves, they provided assistance without restrictions of caste or creed; such is the power of collective action.
Amidst the chaos and despair, these selfless heroes rose to show what humanity can achieve when faced with adversity. They brought hope for a better future as people from different corners of India united against an unseen enemy – showing how one nation can unite all its citizens at a time of crisis.
3. Behind the Mask: Stories of the COVID-19 Pandemic – Documentary on NBC
From World Series victories to Olympic triumphs, the legendary broadcaster brings his journalistic integrity and storytelling skill to a new project about courage and resilience during a global pandemic. The documentary starts with SSM Health caregivers at their most vulnerable moment: when they don’t know what’s going to happen next. We watch as these courageous individuals put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of others, even when they’re scared and uncertain of what tomorrow may bring. Through riveting interviews, we get an inside look at the sacrifices patients and families have made in order to receive life-saving treatments.
4. Through The Storm: Inside The COVID Wards
As the NHS strives to cope with a pandemic that has no end in sight, Sky News spends a month inside two London hospitals – Barnet and The Royal Free – during one of the darkest periods for the health service. From ventilators to families kept apart, through conversations with patients and staff we ask whether the health service will ever recover from this crisis. The scene is set with interviews from people at both sites, revealing how they are struggling under immense pressure. In Barnet Hospital, an oncology nurse talks about not being able to visit her own father who is also battling cancer due to fear of spreading infection; while at The Royal Free, a junior doctor reflects on having taken part in over 100 resuscitations since the start of the pandemic. These are just two stories in a documentary that follows a month in the hospitals, providing intimate insight into how patients and staff are faring during these challenging times. The emotional impacts of separation from families, coupled with physical exhaustion from prolonged working hours, come to light through conversations between doctors and nurses who must keep going against all odds.
5. COVID’s Hidden Toll (full documentary)
As the global pandemic continues to affect our lives, it has become painfully clear that many communities are at a greater risk than others. This documentary sheds light on the struggles of agricultural workers, who have been deemed essential for the production of food yet lack basic protection from their employers. Through interviews with workers and activists, “COVID’s Hidden Toll” exposes how these vulnerable individuals are forced to choose between their health and their jobs — risking their own safety in order to provide food for Americans across the nation.
6. The Virus: What Went Wrong?
The Virus: What Went Wrong? is a journey through the pivotal decisions and missteps that have led to the current global crisis. From Chinese authorities’ initial attempts to silence dissent around the virus’s emergence in Wuhan, to the World Health Organization’s failure to sound the alarm early on, this documentary traces how a series of fateful misfires let COVID-19 spread rapidly across continents. It also zeroes in on key moments in the Trump administration’s response, identifying critical warnings that went ignored back in January, plus failures on both sides of the aisle including CDC’s lack of a working rapid test and numerous missed opportunities for containing the virus before it was too late.
7. The Month Coronavirus Unraveled American Business
The month of March 2020 was the beginning of a new era in U.S. business — one that saw overnight changes for executives as they faced the challenge of leading their companies through a devastating pandemic. With many not knowing what to do, and even less understanding how deeply it would affect them, these 12 executives tell us their personal stories of navigating this uncertain time, and how they ultimately managed to survive the economic devastation caused by COVID-19. As businesses across the country braced for impact from the coronavirus crisis, executives were presented with an unprecedented set of challenges and an urgent need to adapt quickly. From revamping operations and embracing technology to developing innovative solutions, each executive relives their experience during this turbulent month and reflects on how they were able to keep their companies afloat in the face of such adversity.
8. The Full Story of Trump and COVID-19
It starts in 2016. Trump promised to take action against the virus “very, very quickly”. But he ignored the warnings of his experts and downplayed the threat it posed. Fast forward four years later and the effects of his inaction are clear: over 7 million Americans have been infected.
From hospital overcrowding to rising death tolls, this documentary sees a nation at its breaking point as Pres. Trump attempts to control the flow of information about the virus. Experts weigh in on how decisions made by Trump could have prevented so much devastation—and what must be done moving forwards.
9. How coronavirus is changing the world
In Wuhan, China, where it all began, we find a quite different reality than what is now shown in international media. We observe how Beijing has used its authoritarian system to get things done quickly and decisively – something many European countries have not been able to do. But at the same time we hear voices criticizing China’s restrictive measures as too strong from those who stayed behind in the city during quarantine: The people of Wuhan were cut off from the rest of the world for weeks, and many are still struggling with the aftermath. Taiwan is a different story: Here, too, we witness how effective measures can be taken in authoritarian regimes – but also how important it is to have free information and civil liberties. After all, Taiwan has an open media landscape that allows citizens to make up their own minds about whether to accept governmental decisions or not. The country therefore succeeded in containing the pandemic much earlier than most others.
10. Was COVID-19 made inside a Chinese lab?
China, the epicenter of a global pandemic. Could a virus that has spread across the world have originated here? Scientists are now launching new investigations to find out, and it’s raising troubling questions. At first, it seemed like any other market in China – until people started getting sick with an unknown illness. This is where Coronavirus was first reported – and soon after, the global pandemic began. But could something else have been going on beneath the surface? Now scientists are turning to advanced techniques to answer this crucial question: did COVID-19 originate from nature or a laboratory setting? Cutting-edge research suggests that if the virus leaked from a lab, there may be ramifications for the entire scientific community.
11. Overcoming coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a devastating toll on Sigrid Straub and Peggy Graehn. Despite their ordeal, the two women remain determined to find a way back to health and life as they knew it before the COVID-19 crisis. After her recovery, Straub was able to return home from the hospital, where she is still struggling with fatigue, memory problems and difficulty breathing. For Graehn, the road ahead is even longer. She suffers from neuropsychological problems that make it difficult for her to concentrate or speak. The symptoms of Post-Covid Syndrome are particularly severe in Gerahn’s case due to her age and other existing conditions.