Blue and gold fireworks soared into the sky above the Sydney Opera House as they do every year, but the harbour below was a ghost town, a fittingly creepy send-off for a year that will not be missed.
No light show will illuminate Beijing from the top of the TV tower. The lions of London's Trafalgar Square will be barricaded off, as will Red Square in Moscow. In Rome, crowds will not assemble in St Peter's Square, the Pope will lead no Mass, and revellers will not make their yearly dive into the Tiber.
The New Year's Eve ball will drop on Broadway. But in place of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers packed shoulder-to-shoulder into Times Square, the audience will be a small pre-selected group of nurses, doctors and other key workers, their families kept six feet apart in socially distanced pens.
Good riddance, 2020. Hello, 2021.
With more than 1.7 million people dead and 82 million infected around the globe since last New Year's Eve — yet hope that new vaccines can help tame the pandemic — this year's end is like none other in memory.