Faces Of COVID Honors Victims By Telling Their Stories : Coronavirus Updates The Twitter account @FacesofCOVID has been a way to honor some of the nearly 600,000 Americans who have died. Alex Goldstein, who runs it, has posted over 5,000 virtual obituaries.

This Twitter Account Is Honoring COVID Victims, With 5,000 Obituaries And Counting

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SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

As the death toll began rising in the earliest months of the pandemic, Alex Goldstein felt overwhelmed.

ALEX GOLDSTEIN: The story at the earliest moments of the pandemic was largely a data story. We were getting all these numbers thrown at us, hospitalizations and cases and deaths. And I found it really hard to process.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Goldstein runs a communications firm in Boston.

GOLDSTEIN: The traditional rituals of saying goodbye to a loved one have been robbed of us. We - most people did not get to have a funeral. Many people did have to say goodbye via Zoom or an iPad.

INSKEEP: So he started posting simple obituaries on Twitter, just to name, age, a few words about their life and a photo.

GOLDSTEIN: David and Muriel Cohen of Longmeadow, Mass., passed away on the same day in April. David was a World War II veteran and a liberator of the Ohrdruf concentration camp in Germany. They were at each other's side until the end.

MCCAMMON: The Twitter account is called @FacesOfCOVID. He's posted more than 5,000 obituaries. He writes some while others come from family or friends.

GOLDSTEIN: So this platform that's very public actually has become important to some people because it's a place where they can share their loved one's story and see strangers from all over the world say your loved one meant something.

INSKEEP: Mr. Goldstein says he feels connected to the names and the faces even though he's never met the people. At times, it's been overwhelming.

GOLDSTEIN: I was sharing a story every half hour through the month of April. And I burnt myself out. It was, like, too much tragedy to even begin to kind of wrap your arms around.

MCCAMMON: Even though the pandemic is declining in the U.S., Goldstein says it's too early to stop.

GOLDSTEIN: I don't want us to immediately lose sight just because things are reopening. And if @FacesOfCOVID can help people slow down a little bit on their impulse to change the channel as quickly as possible, I actually think there can be some good that comes from that.

MCCAMMON: He says his @FacesOfCOVID Twitter account will continue indefinitely.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANGUS MACRAE'S "SOLSTICE")

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