On April 11, a month and a half ago, the United States overtook Italy and became the country with the most deaths with COVID-19, the disease caused by a coronavirus that has kept almost the entire planet in different levels of confinement. The latest data from Johns Hopkins University point out that the number of those infected globally is more than 5.2 million, while more than 340,000 people have died worldwide; almost a third of these deaths correspond to the country that is governed by Donald Trump, who has recently boasted of being the country with the most infected on the planet, considering that the authorities are doing their job by carrying out a large number of tests to detect the disease.
“We knew we were getting closer to this moment and there had to be some way to deal with this figure,” explains the newspaper’s graphics department editor Simone Landon.
The cover of The New York Times this Sunday, perhaps the most prestigious newspaper in the world, leaves no one indifferent and has made a fortune on social networks. The huge sheet with the names of 1,000 victims of the coronavirus in the US. It is a tribute to the more than 100,000 that the country is about to overtake. A commemoration of such a “disastrous milestone”.
Under the title ‘U.S. Deaths Near 100,000, an incalculable loss‘, the newspaper explains that “they were not simply names on a list”, but “they were us”. The rest of the cover is names, a number that indicates the age and a brief biographical reference of the victims.
Within the newspaper, the list continues, intertwined with a note by Dan Barry, reporter and columnist for the ‘Times’. But above all, there are names and more names, victims of the coronavirus, with which we try to give an approximate dimension of the tragedy.
The newspaper explains how the idea came to him. Simone Landon, the assistant editor of the graphic department, explains that “both among us and surely in the general public, there is some fatigue in the face of the data”, but they were looking for a “way of dealing with that number” of deaths that is hopelessly approaching at 100,000. “Placing 100,000 dots or stick figures on one page doesn’t say much about who those people were, the lives they lived, what this all means to us as a country,” says Landon. So he came up with the idea of compiling obituaries and obituaries for Covid-19 victims published in large and small newspapers in the United States and selecting vivid snippets from them.
Two ideas stood out for the front page of the newspaper: a grid with hundreds of images of those who lost their lives to the coronavirus or a “typographic” concept. Under the premise of “invading the entire page”, the second option was finally chosen, considering that it would be “enormously dramatic”.