The New York Times newspaper on February 21 dedicated its front page to a unique form of data visualisation as it represented each American who succumbed to the Covid-19 infection as US inches close to 500,000 death mark. The running total of lives lost was about 498,000 — roughly the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and just shy of the size of Atlanta.

“A nation numbed by misery and loss is confronting a number that still has the power to shock: 500,000,” the newspaper said in its story. The newspaper noted that America has clocked the highest number of deaths in the coronavirus pandemic. “More Americans have perished from Covid-19 than on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined,” it said.

The visualisation of numbers to explain the gravity of the situation was highly appreciated on the Twitter as it was shared far and wide.

I wonder which dot represents my 97 yr old mom. She passed 3 days ago 2/18/21. She was our queen. She was 2 wks away from her 2nd shot. My heart is broken. RIH mom. pic.twitter.com/ALhO3bM6t8— DBrooks (@DBrooks45894797) February 22, 2021

I would love to own a copy of this paper – for memory’s sake of having nursed through this pandemic. But as an Australian it is all to difficult :'( But what an incredibly powerful piece.— Elissa (@ElissaGow) February 22, 2021

The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.

“It’s nothing like we have ever been through in the last 102 years, since the 1918 influenza pandemic,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The US virus death toll reached 400,000 on January 19 in the waning hours in office for President Donald Trump, whose handling of the crisis was judged by public health experts to be a singular failure.

The nation could pass this next grim milestone on Monday. President Joe Biden will mark the US crossing 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House.

The first known deaths from the virus in the U.S. happened in early February 2020, both of them in Santa Clara County, California. It took four months to reach the first 100,000 dead. The toll hit 200,000 deaths in September and 300,000 in December. Then it took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and about two months to climb from 400,000 to the brink of 500,000.