The USA is nearing a grim milestone, and the Times is making sure no-one forgets those who've died.
The USA is nearing a grim milestone, and the Times is making sure no-one forgets those who've died.

World stunned by tragic front page

The US will soon have lost 100,000 people to coronavirus, a heartbreaking milestone for the country.

The New York Times summed up the staggering loss in a heartbreaking front page, listing 1000 of the Americans who had lost their lives to the virus.

"They were not simply names on a list, they were us," the front page reads, describing the deaths as an "incalculable loss".

The US leads the world with a reported 1.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 96,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

 

The Times printed 1000 names on its Sunday May 24 front page, noting the list represents just one per cent of the total loss of lives in the U.S.

The list was so long that it continued into page 12 of the newspaper.

Rather than simply naming victims of the virus, The Times sought to remember them by key attributes of their life and personality - a project that had been weeks in the making.

"Numbers alone cannot possibly measure the impact of the coronavirus on America, whether it is the number of patients treated, jobs interrupted or lives cut short," the article read.

"As the country nears a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths attributed to the virus, The Times scoured obituaries and death notices of victims."

Some of the deceased completed immense feats in life, including Romi Cohn.

"Romi Cohn, 91, New York City, saved 56 Jewish families from the Gestapo," the newspaper said.

Then there was Albert Petrocelli, 73, a chief from New York City who answered the call on the fateful day of 9/11.

The USA is nearing a grim milestone, and The Times is making sure no-one forgets those who've died.
The USA is nearing a grim milestone, and The Times is making sure no-one forgets those who've died.

The Times aimed to provide a snapshot into the Americans who had lost their lives to the virus, outlining the lives of single mothers, travellers and more.

"Cedric Dixon, 48, New York City, police detective in Harlem with a gift for interrogation," one obituary read.

"Bassey Offiong, 25, saw friends at their worst but brought out their best," was another.

They also included a Times veteran in the list; "Charles Constantino, 86, Menlo Park, N.J., worked 40 years for The New York Times."

For the first time since late March, New York recorded fewer than 100 COVID-19 deaths - 84 lives were lost. That compares to 590 deaths in NYC on the deadliest day of the outbreak in early April.

The powerful front page stunned the world, with some labelling it "gut-wrenching" and others simply thanking the paper.

Others also recognised the article's similarity to the newspaper's memorial of 9/11 victims.

"Profiles of the dead … like you did after 9/11," one Twitter user commented.

It has been a project weeks in the making, with Times journalists wondering how to honour and remember the countless people who have lost their lives.

Simone Landon, assistant editor of The New York Times Graphics desk, wanted to represent the number in a way that conveyed both the vastness and the variety of lives lost.

Departments across The Times have been robustly covering the coronavirus pandemic for months.

But Ms Landon and her colleagues realised that "both among ourselves and perhaps in the general reading public, there's a little bit of a fatigue with the data."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, US President Donald Trump copped a lot of the blame.

"Trump should have to stand and read each name," one person commented.

The criticisms come as Mr Trump was caught playing golf for the first time since he declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency.

The world is not impressed, likening his act to Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

Originally published as World stunned by tragic front page

10 names on the list of 1000, out of the 100,000 Americans who have died.
10 names on the list of 1000, out of the 100,000 Americans who have died.


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