The ultimate cost of COVID-19 in human life may very well be incalculable, but Oklahoma Watch, a local nonprofit news organization, is endeavoring to remember.
Investigative reporter Trevor Brown has used media obituaries and other public resources to create a database of Oklahomans who died of the coronavirus. Soon they intend to publish a digital Wall of Remembrance, including a brief description of that person’s life, a photograph (if available), and a link to a news story or their obituary. Using a data visualization program called Flourish, Brown has transformed the data into a digital wall of those we have lost that will be shareable with other Oklahoma media outlets.
Only those whose families have identified them as having died of COVID-19 will be included.
As of Monday, the Oklahoma Department of Health listed 10,388 COVID-19 deaths. Currently, Oklahoma Watch’s list includes 200 lives. Upon publication, there will be thousands of missing names. To provide a clearer picture of the pandemic’s impact they need the community’s help. The digital memorial will be accompanied by a survey to collect information.
This initiative was inspired by a collaboration by Iowa media outlets. Oklahoma Watch is also working with an OU journalism class to produce stories about some victims and broader looks on the COVID-19 impact.
“We believe this is important to help build a historical picture of the victims, help loved ones share who they were and what they meant to those they left behind,” Brown said, “and to show the cost of the pandemic.”
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to share about family, friends and loved ones lost and help account for the pandemic’s toll.