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New York Times dedicates Sunday front page with names of coronavirus victims

The front page will feature the names of 1,000 coronavirus victims, representing only 1% of all of the people who have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.

NEW YORK — As the U.S. approaches 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus, The New York Times is designating its Sunday, May 24, 2020 front page to 1,000 victims of the virus.

The names represent only 1% of all the people who have died from COVID-19 in the nation. The front page will exclusively feature a long list of people without articles, photographs or graphics. 

Simone Landon, assistant editor of the newspaper's graphics desk, said that there has been "a little it of a fatigue with the [coronavirus] data."

“We knew we were approaching this milestone,” Landon was quoted saying in a Times Insider piece. “We knew that there should be some way to try to reckon with that number.” 

Landon added that 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."

The list of names featured in Sunday's paper was compiled through various online sources for obituaries and death notices from across the country with coronavirus listed as the cause of death. 

Tom Bodkin, chief creative officer of the Times, said the paper wanted to "take over the entire page" with either pictures of hundreds of COVID-19 victims, or an "all type" concept.

Bodkin said he doesn't remember a front page with only text during his 40 years at the paper, “though there have been some pages with only graphics,” he said, adding, “This is certainly a first in modern times.” 

The list of victims will continue past page A1 with more names and an essay by Dan Barry, a Times reporter and columnist. 

As of Saturday evening, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus was 96,875. More than 1.6 million have tested positive in the country, and there have been over 361,000 recoveries, according to the count by Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, there have been 5.2 million cases, and more than 340,800 people have died of COVID-19.

The long list of names of people who have died in the pandemic has brief descriptions culled from obituaries nationwide, filling six columns under the headline “U.S. Deaths Near 100,000, an Incalculable Loss,” with a subheadline reading: “They Were Not Simply Names on a List. They Were Us.”

The all-text list takes the place of the usual articles, photographs and graphics in an effort to convey the vastness and variety of lives lost, according to Landon.

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Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE - In this July 22, 2008 file photo, traffic passes in front of The New York Times building in New York.

The Associated Press contributed.