'A truly heartbreaking milestone': President Biden honors 500,000 US COVID-19 deaths with moment of silence

Written by on February 22, 2021

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America has simply 4% of the world’s inhabitants, however almost 25% of its deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — 5 hundred candles glowed round President Joe Biden as he stood outdoors the White Home in a second of silence to honor the lives of the greater than 500,000 Individuals who’ve died from COVID-19. 

“Right this moment we mark a really heartbreaking milestone: 500,071 useless,” Biden stated throughout remarks within the Cross Corridor of the White Home earlier than the second of silence. “That is extra Individuals who’ve died in a single 12 months on this pandemic than in World Conflict I, World Conflict II, and the Vietnam Conflict mixed. That is extra lives misplaced to this virus than another nation on Earth.”

America passed the grim milestone Monday, in keeping with the Johns Hopkins College dashboard. The toll comes lower than a 12 months after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic. 

First girl Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff had been additionally current through the remarks and second of silence. Along with the second of silence, the flag on the White Home was lowered to half-staff and can stay till sundown on Friday.

Extra: US reaches 500,000 coronavirus deaths in under a year, a once-unthinkable milestone

Biden has typically talked about empathizing with Individuals who’ve misplaced family members, each on the marketing campaign path and since taking workplace. Biden’s son, Beau, died of mind most cancers in 2015 and his spouse and daughter died in a automotive crash in 1972.

Throughout his remarks Monday, Biden stated he is aware of what it’s wish to not be there when a cherished one passes away, and to be there “holding their palms, as they appear in your eye they usually slip away.”

The president famous that he acquired a letter from a girl whose father died from COVID-19 final Easter, and the way she and her household haven’t been capable of correctly mourn his dying because of the pandemic.

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“So most of the rituals that assist us cope and assist us honor these we cherished haven’t been obtainable to us,” Biden stated. “As a nation, we can not, and we should not, let this go on.”

White Home press secretary Jen Psaki stated Monday that Biden’s remarks and the second of silence is “a second to recollect the entire households that had been impacted throughout the nation.”

‘That is our era’s D-Day’: As US surpasses 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, weary health care workers fight on amid the heartbreak

“The president felt it was vital, on a private stage and human stage, to mark the lives misplaced over the previous 12 months,” Psaki stated.

Biden throughout his remarks additionally reminded Individuals to “keep vigilant,” and proceed to put on masks, socially distance and get a vaccine as quickly as they’ll.

“This nation will smile once more. This nation will know sunny days once more. This nation will know pleasure once more,” Biden stated. “And as we do, we’ll keep in mind every particular person we have misplaced, the lives they lived, the family members they left behind. We’ll get by this I promise you.”

Following his remarks, Biden stepped onto the South Portico porch, with the primary girl by his facet and Harris and Emhoff throughout from him, and solemnly stood through the second of silence. He briefly bowed his head earlier than lifting it up, made the signal of the cross, and silently walked again contained in the White Home.

Attain Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_

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The landmark Washington Nationwide Cathedral marked the grim dying toll of 500,000 Individuals to COVID-19 by tolling its cathedral bell 500 instances Monday. (Feb. 22) AP Home

Learn or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/information/politics/2021/02/22/biden-honors-500-000-americans-whove-died-covid/4540914001/


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