The paper, which calls the ongoing tragedy “an incalculable loss,” published nearly 1,000 victims’ names, age and a personal detail about each person. The list, which only represents about 1% of those reported to have died from the coronavirus, shares the memories of people like Landon Spradlin, 66, a “preacher and blues guitarist,” and Sandra Santos-Vizcaino, 54, a “beloved public school teacher.”
Simone Landon, assistant editor of the New York Times Graphics desk, told the Times that she had wanted to convey the significance of losing nearly 100,000 people and honored the diversity of those lost. “We knew that there should be some way to try to reckon with that number,” Landon said.
To create the project, the Times compiled a list of nearly 1,000 people, and a team of editors and three graduate student journalists read obituaries to pull a phrase that conveyed their individuality. The paper also published an online digital version of the list, depicting each of those named as small, dark figures amongst a crowd of others.
Washington Post reporter Lena Sun, who noted that her mother Yu Lihua was among the names, praised the Times for “remembering the people behind these numbers.”
Several people said that the project is even more impactful when viewing the print copy of the paper.
One Twitter user, Walter Dellinger, described the piece as “the Vietnam Memorial of Coronavirus in America, 2020.”