The New York Times filled its front page with one-line obituaries for one thousand victims of the COVID-19 pandemic in a staggeringly powerful message as the US death toll approaches 100,000.
The memorial appeared on the front of Sunday's paper underneath the headline: "US Deaths Near 100,000, An Incalculable Loss."
The obituary is an attempt to humanize the losses incurred during the COVId-19 pandemic, which have so often been reduced to numbers and statistics.
More than 97,000 American COVID-19 patients have died and the country's death toll is expected to move past 100,000 in the coming weeks. The New York Times published the emotional front page in tribute of that grim milestone.
"They Were Not Simply Names On A List, They Were Us," the obituary's sub-heading reads.
For every name on the front page, there is a short obituary with a nugget of information about that person.
The one-line obituaries vary from huge life-defining moments like jobs and marriages to hobbies and habits. Each unique fact sets one person aside from every other name on the list and the obituary is far more emotional than numbers and figures ever could be.
Marty Derer, 56, for example, "loved to referee basketball games," while Richard Joseph Lenihan Jr., 55, was "a man of faith and a proud Irish-American."
Gerard Rosenberg, 85, was a "retired New York Supreme Court Justice", while Robert Crahen, 87, was "nick-named 'Boxcar Bob' for his luck in shaking dice."
Jerzy Glowczewski, 97, was the "last of the WWII Polish fighter pilots", while Chad Capule, 50, was " a project manager remembered for his love of trivia."
The front page of The New York Times for May 24, 2020 pic.twitter.com/d14JhFp4CP— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 24, 2020
The New York Times published an article explaining the thinking behind the front page.
Simone Landon, assistant editor of the paper's graphics desk, wanted to represent the number of casualties in a way that "conveyed both the vastness and the variety of lives lost," the article said.
Landon argued that putting 100,000 dots on a page strips away the human aspect of the losses and doesn't tell much about who each person was.
Researchers at the paper combed through obituaries in local papers throughout America and compiled one thousand names in a list. A team of editors and student journalists then went through the list of obituaries to find snippets of information that made every individual unique.