As the United States approached 1,00,000 coronavirus deaths, The New York Times on Sunday marked the grim milestone with a stark memorial on its front page — one-line obituaries for 1,000 victims.
"The 1,000 people here reflect just one percent of the toll. None were mere numbers," the newspaper said in a short introduction on the front page, which was entirely covered in text.
The United States has been the hardest-hit country in the coronavirus pandemic by far, in deaths and number of infections.
Victims featured by the Times included "Joe Diffie, 62, Nashville, Grammy-winning country music star," and "Lila A. Fenwick, 87, New York City, first black woman to graduate from Harvard Law School."
Also: "Myles Coker, 69, New York City, freed from life in prison," "Ruth Skapinok, 85, Roseville, Calif., backyard birds were known to eat from her hand," and "Jordan Driver Haynes, 27, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, generous young man with a delightful grin."
Marc Lacey, the paper's national editor, said, "I wanted something that people would look back on in 100 years to understand the toll of what we're living through."
The headline made headlines with the front page going viral on social media within minutes of its release. Many deemed it as the perfect response of media to a tone-deaf leadership and a telling sign of the compellingly tough and unprecedented crisis that Americans are currently facing.
That NYT front page names only 1% of the Americans who have died from Covid-19. I found that a bit difficult to grasp, so I copy/pasted it 100 times to get a sense of scale. The first image below is what it would look like if you could see all 100,000 names. pic.twitter.com/XteZFkT1Ze— Aubrey Hirsch (@aubreyhirsch) May 24, 2020
I don’t know who made this “adjustment” to tomorrow’s NYT cover, but wow—really says it all. pic.twitter.com/Qtpq6q3Ylp— Joe Yeah! (@JoeYeah2020) May 24, 2020
The first NYT front page in modern times without any images.
People will look back at this powerful cover in 100 years and try to comprehend what we’ve all gone through. pic.twitter.com/Acy4xxOmuq— Jason Yanowitz (@JasonYanowitz) May 24, 2020
NYT Front page today is just names of the fallen. pic.twitter.com/DezQZIhjxr— Dihydrogen monoxide (@zechariah_ffs) May 24, 2020
The most important word on the front page of Sunday's NYT is "incalculable." https://t.co/PccQjvkrnu— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 24, 2020
The front-page in the American paper also made an impact on netizens from India, many of whom questioned if such coverage was possible by Indian media companies.
NYT Sunday front-page. Meanwhile can Indian media finally look at the humans beyond ‘17 migrants killed’ etc.
Human stories capture human imagination and propel us to feel and act much more than numbers - which we become numb to after a while. pic.twitter.com/zPWnKbMHxp— Sidharth Rath (@sidharthrath) May 24, 2020
Looking at that NYT page 1 and thinking that it has been a while we had a good pg 1 from an Indian newspaper or even a good magazine cover.— Ashish K. Mishra (@akm1410) May 24, 2020
The milestone of 1,00,000 deaths loomed as U.S. states across the country ease lockdown measures.
President Donald Trump, with an eye on his re-election prospects in November, has pressed for a further reopening of the country as job losses mount and the economy slows from coronavirus shutdowns.
(With inputs from AFP)