President Joe Biden led a minute of silence to honor U.S. victims of the coronavirus after the country became the first to record more than half a million deaths.
As 500 lighted candles lined the steps of the White House to commemorate the dead, a military orchestra performed Amazing Grace and the president made his moving remarks.
“Today we mark a really dark and heartbreaking milestone – 500,071 dead. More Americans have died in a year in this pandemic than in WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War. combined, ”he said.
“But as we recognize the scale of this massive death in America, we remember each person and the life they lived. These are people we knew.”
There have now been 500,201 COVID-related deaths in the country as of 2 a.m., and more than 28 million people have been infected, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.
Mr Biden was joined by First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, who nodded solemnly as they observed a minute of silence.
The president also urged Americans to put aside their differences, saying, “We must end the politics and disinformation that has divided families, communities and the country, and which has already claimed too many lives. It’s not the Democrats and Republicans who are dying from the virus, it’s our fellow Americans.
“We have to fight this together as one people, like the United States of America.”
Mr Biden ordered the national flag to be half-masted at the White House, on all public buildings and lands, as well as at military posts and naval stations until sunset on Friday.
Brazil has the second highest number of coronavirus deaths in the world with around 250,000.
The fact that the United States dominates the world in death and infection rates reflects poor planning by the Trump administration, President Biden has already said.
Confirming that the United States had purchased enough doses “to immunize all Americans”, he accused Mr. Trump for failing to manage the deployment of the vaccine.
“While scientists have done their job in discovering vaccines in record time, my predecessor – I’m going to be very blunt about this – did not do his job in preparing for the enormous challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions. people, ”he said.
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In December, the average daily deaths in the United States linked to COVID-19[female[feminine affected 2,276 with a daily total exceeding the 2,977 people who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Native Americans are the most affected racial group as a percentage of the population, recording nearly 211 deaths per 100,000 population, Statista said.
Despite Mr Biden’s criticism, there is cause for hope in the deployment of the vaccine, with official statistics indicating that around 64 million shots have been administered so far.
This puts the United States on track to surpass the president’s stated goal of doses of 100 million in his government’s first 100 days, although progress has been hampered by the recent freezing weather.
And the number of cases is also dropping – down to around 100,000 a day this month from 250,000 in January.
This is a far cry from Mr. Trump’s optimistic prediction last April that, even if they did nothing, the United States would lose 50,000 to 60,000 people to the virus.