Biden leads Americans in moment of silence to mourn 5 lakh US COVID-19 deaths

The President called on Americans to remain vigilant in fighting the pandemic by continuing to wear masks, observe social distancing and receive vaccinations when it is their turn

Biden leads Americans in moment of silence to mourn 5 lakh US COVID-19 deaths

US President Joe Biden makes the sign of the cross at the conclusion of a moment of silence as he and his wife Jill Biden attend a candle lighting ceremony to commemorate the grim milestone of 5,00,000 US deaths from COVID-19 at the White House in Washington on February 22, 2021. REUTERS

Washington, February 22

President Joe Biden led Americans in observing a moment of silence on Monday to commemorate the grim milestone of more than 5,00,000 US deaths from COVID-19, urging Americans to set aside partisan differences and fight the pandemic together.

“Today we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone — 5,00,071 dead. That’s more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War combined,” Biden said in emotional remarks at the White House.

“But as we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we remember each person and the life they lived. They’re people we knew,” he added.

Also read: Bells toll for lives lost as US reaches 5 lakh COVID deaths

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff marked a moment of silence around 6:15 p.m. (2315 GMT) outdoors at the White House after the president’s remarks, bowing their heads sombrely.

As many as 500 lit candles lined the White House steps to commemorate the dead and a military band played a soaring rendition of “Amazing Grace”.

Biden ordered that all flags on federal properties and military facilities be lowered to half-staff until Friday at sunset to commemorate the dead.

The President called on Americans to remain vigilant in fighting the pandemic by continuing to wear masks, observe social distancing and receive vaccinations when it is their turn.

“We must end the politics and misinformation that has divided families, communities and the country, and has cost too many lives already. It’s not Democrats and Republicans who are dying from the virus. It’s our fellow Americans,” Biden said, adding: “We have to fight this together as one people, as the United States of America.” Reuters

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