In the past five months - since March, more Americans have died from Covid-19 than in the decade-plus of the Vietnam War and the death toll is a third of the number of Americans who died in World War II.
Putting 100,000 dots or stick figures on a page “doesn’t really tell you very much about who these people were, the lives that they lived, what it means for us as a country,” Ms. Landon said. So, she came up with the idea of compiling obituaries and death notices of Covid-19 victims from newspapers large and small across the country, and culling vivid passages from them.
Alain Delaquérière, a researcher, combed through various sources online for obituaries and death notices with Covid-19 written as the cause of death. He compiled a list of nearly a thousand names from hundreds of newspapers. A team of editors from across the newsroom, in addition to three graduate student journalists, read them and gleaned phrases that depicted the uniqueness of each life lost:
“Alan Lund, 81, Washington, conductor with ‘the most amazing ear’ … ”
“Theresa Elloie, 63, New Orleans, renowned for her business making detailed pins and corsages … ”
“Florencio Almazo Morán, 65, New York City, one-man army … ”
“Coby Adolph, 44, Chicago, entrepreneur and adventurer … ”
The magnitude of loss is incomprehensible. The fallout of this will echo for decades, and touch each of us. When we get past this, the one thing we cannot do is forget all of these people. Each of these people was someone special, who in their own way, was contributing to make this nation great. And we owe to them to make this mean something. We owe it to them to rethink our supply systems, our health care system, and how we view each other.