Hours after the U.S. crossed the brink of 500,000 deaths from COVID-19, President Biden commemorated the lives misplaced over the previous yr on Monday evening. No different nation has misplaced extra lives to the yearlong pandemic than the U.S.

“Today, we mark a very grim, heartbreaking milestone,” he stated in a short speech on the White House. “500,071 useless. That’s extra Americans who died in a single yr on this pandemic than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War mixed.”Remembrance, Mr. Biden stated, is a vital a part of the therapeutic course of, each for people and for the nation. Shortly earlier than the occasion, the president ordered the flags on the White House lowered to half employees. Candles graced the steps from the White House residence to the South Lawn, because the president, first girl Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff seemed out over the South Lawn in a second of silence. 

Biden commemorates lives misplaced to COVID-19

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“That’s the way you heal — you must bear in mind,” Mr. Biden stated. “And it is also necessary to do this as a nation. Those who’ve misplaced family members, this is what I do know: They’re by no means really gone. They’ll at all times be a part of your coronary heart.”
The president, who misplaced his first spouse and daughter in a automobile crash a long time in the past, and whose son Beau died after a battle with most cancers in 2015, empathized with those that have misplaced family members during the last yr.”I do know what it is prefer to not be there when it occurs. I do know what it is like when you’re there, holding their arms, wanting in to their eyes as they slip away,” Mr. Biden stated. “…That movie show the place you met. The morning espresso you shared collectively.”

President Joe Biden, first girl Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, bow their heads throughout a White House ceremony to honor the five hundred,000 Americans who’ve died from COVID-19 on Monday, February 22, 2021.

Evan Vucci / AP

The president known as on the nation to press ahead in taking precautions to stop extra deaths. It’s not about politics, he stated — it is about neighbors, pals, daughters and sons, husbands and wives. 

“We need to combat this as one folks. As the United States of America … the one technique to spare extra ache and extra loss, the one manner,” he stated. Overall, the variety of instances and of deaths per day have been dropping, and over 44 million Americans have obtained not less than one vaccine dose in a two-dose routine. Despite the staggering toll taken by the virus, former Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb sees causes for optimism within the months forward. On CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, he predicted, “I believe we’ll proceed to see an infection charges decline into the spring and the summer time. Right now, they’re falling fairly dramatically.” While he would not suppose the U.S. will ever get hold of “true” herd immunity, as a result of massive percentages of Americans have been contaminated and a rising variety of individuals are being vaccinated, the illness is transferring “at a a lot slower fee.”