No matter what you think about the coronavirus pandemic, you can’t dispute that this list makes things very real
One thousand names. That’s what today’s New York Times starts on the front page. No images. A simple headline. Followed by each name are age and location. Some listings include a scant 5–7 words about the person.
This 1% representation of the number of US people who have died of COVID-19 is difficult to see, and very raw. No matter what you think about the coronavirus pandemic — whether we needed to close or not, or whether you should have to wear a face-covering at stores — you can’t dispute that this list makes things very real.
These are more than names. Look closely, and you’ll see that we’ve lost real people, including:
- an 83-year-old jazz pianist, composer, and educator
- a 44-year-old single mother of three
- a 47-year-old ballroom dancing star
- an 81-year-old Tony-winning playwright of gay life
- a 54-year-old school teacher
- a Florida woman who was helping to raise her grandchildren
- a 59-year-old transgender immigrant activist
- the 69-year-old songwriter who wrote “I Love Rock’ n’ Roll”
- a 32-year-old who immigrated to the US three years ago
- a 75-year-old man who liked his bacon and hash browns crispy
The list goes on, of course. I’ve listed only 1% of the 1,000.
As I read the list, I realize that I can relate to the victims or their families in at least a small way. That’s what makes this both real and surreal at the same time. I do know people who tested positive for the coronavirus. They’re all in the clear now, but things could have gone entirely different.
As I write this, the global death total is at 343,982. To the families of victims of this horrible pandemic, my condolences are with you. Please take comfort in knowing that we now see the bigger picture. That your loved ones are not merely a part of data, but a part of us as a community.
The paper included an interactive version on its website here.