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Globe reader points out grim milestone: 11 pages of death notices on Sunday amid coronavirus pandemic

On Sunday, April 12, 11 pages of death notices ran in the Boston Globe amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Sunday, April 12, 11 pages of death notices ran in the Boston Globe amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

With each day - each passing hour, really - comes a grim reminder of the devastating toll the coronavirus has taken across the globe and in our communities.

On Sunday afternoon, one Globe reader spotted yet another unfortunate marker. Journalist Julio Ricardo Varela, who cohosts the podcast “In the Thick” with Maria Hinojosa and tweets under the handle @julito77, posted a short video clip calling attention to the 11 pages of death notices that ran in the newspaper’s Sunday edition.

“I’ve never seen this ever in the paper," the reader says in the clip, before slowly turning each page.

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As Varela noted, the death notices include the names of people from all over Eastern Massachusetts, as well as Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont. Overseas deaths in Greece and Venezuela are also noted.

There’s no immediate way to determine what percentage of the deceased appearing in the Globe’s death notices each day are COVID-19 victims, but the disease, which Governor Charlie Baker has repeatedly called “insidious” in his daily briefings, is an undeniable factor in the recent spike in listings.

Several of the notices said that the deceased had passed away after a brief battle with COVID-19.

Statewide, 756 people had succumbed to the virus as of Sunday, according to the latest figures released by public health officials.

The April 5 Sunday Globe included nine pages of death notices. Many notices run during the week as well but far fewer than on Sunday. On Thursday, March 26, the Globe ran fewer than two pages of death notices.

Varela’s video is reminiscent of one posted in mid-March that shows a man paging through 10 pages of death notices in L’Eco di Bergamo, an Italian newspaper from Bergamo, a town in Northern Italy near Milan.

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The Lombardy region has been devastated by the coronavirus outbreak. An investigation by L’Eco di Bergamo published on April 1 estimated that 4,500 people died due to COVID-19 in the Bergamo region in the month of March.



Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.