The pandemic hasn’t just robbed us of our freedom. It’s robbed so many of their lives. In drawing a few of the more than 40,000 victims, I hoped to spend an extra hour with them, to give myself the gift of their company and perhaps — by conjuring their presence — to better grasp the price of this crisis.
Steve Brodner is an illustrator in New York City. This package was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, with contributions from David Wallis.
Nancy Jo McKeown, 80, was a former General Electric worker, a Daughters of the American Revolution member and a nursing home resident in Louisville. “They say I got the virus,” she told her daughter. “I’m gonna fight this.”
Israel “Izzy” Tolentino, 33, was a firefighter in Passaic, N.J. His friends said he was defined by his drive to help others: “Izzy cared more about everyone first.”
William Miranda, 96, was injured at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 and received two Bronze Stars for his service. He worked for 44 years as a mechanic and electrician at a steel mill in Ashland, Ky.
Wando Evans, 51, was an overnight stock and maintenance worker at the Walmart in Evergreen Park, Ill., for 15 years. He died two days after being sent home.
Leilani Jordan, 27, was a Giant Food grocery clerk in Largo, Md. She kept working, despite the risk, as others at the store refused to show up. She told her mother: “I’m going to still go to work. I want to help.”
Emily Wallace, 67, had Down syndrome and was living in a group home in Georgia. She had a “do not resuscitate” living will. Otherwise she might have been subject to a triage directive, ordering that the intellectually disabled not be given life-saving support.
Leo Dela Cruz, age unknown, was a geriatric psychiatrist at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, N.J. “He was a good person, a sweet man that was loved by everyone,” the hospital’s Tucker Woods and Marie Duffy said in a statement.
Earl Bailey, 56, was a nurse in Broward County, Fla. He was determined to beat the illness at home so he wouldn’t take up a hospital bed that others might need. He went into cardiac arrest there.
Benjamin Hirschmann, 24, was an intern for Michigan state Sen. Peter Lucido. His doctor treated him telephonically and told him to use cough syrup. He was denied a coronavirus test. He died at home.
Priscilla Carrow, 65, was a coordinating manager at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens. She was told to self-quarantine after she was exposed to a patient with the virus. She was planning to retire this year.