From 2 million to 1,000
Updated 1:21 PM ET, Wed July 29, 2020
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Muslim worshipers observed the first rituals of an historic Hajj on Wednesday, with around 1,000 pilgrims adhering to "safety bubbles" and social distancing measures over fears of the coronavirus.
While the Hajj typically features large crowds crammed around Islam's holiest shrine, this year's annual pilgrimage has seen worshipers circumambulating the Kaaba along concentric circles marked on the ground. Several feet separated the mask-clad pilgrims who walked at a measured pace.
The Tawaf Al-Qudum, a group rite of passage in the holy city of Mecca, was unlike anything that Muslims watching the processions on th