The prestigious New York Times newspaper the New York Times on Sunday devoted a report to the “incalculable” human loss caused in nearly three months by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and completely filled its cover with brief obituaries of 1,000 of the deceased, when the count is now approaching 100,000.
The striking image of the front page, widely shared on social media, is a long six-column list that puts name, age and life history to the raw figures of the tragedy under the headline “Deaths in the US are approaching 100,000, an incalculable loss,” recalling that these people “were us.”
The editor of the NYT graphic board, Simone Landon, indicated through her Twitter account that the solemn cover features “1% of those who have died” and the digital edition interactively emphasizes their stories, in the hope that readers will “spend a little time with each of them”.
The tribute allows us to know lives such as that of Samuel Hargress Jr. 84, who owned the Paris Blues jazz venue in New York; Mike Field, 59, an emergency worker who came to help with the September 11, 2001 attacks; Mary Santiago, 44, a mother from Illinois; or April Dunn, 33, Louisiana’s disability rights advocate.
In another article on the development of the piece, NYT journalists emphasize that in the vicinity of the sad figure of 100,000 who died by the new coronavirus, they were aware of the “data fatigue” and reviewed obituaries in hundreds of national newspapers to obtain phrases that showed “the special of every life lost”, something that resembled a “tapestry”.
In the electronic edition, the report takes a visual view and scrolls down to read the brief stories, with recounts of the deceased by chronological date and an essay on the “absence of a clear ending” during the pandemic, in which “even the dead have had to wait” to be dismissed by their loved ones.