Hours after the United States crossed the threshold ofsince President Biden commemorated the lives lost during the past year on Monday night. No other country has lost more lives to the one-year pandemic than the United States.
“Today, we mark a truly grim and heartbreaking milestone,” he said in a short speech at the White House. “500,071 dead. More Americans have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.”
Remembrance, Biden said, is an important part of the healing process, both for individuals and for the nation. Shortly before the event, the president ordered the White House flags to be lowered to half mast. Candles adorned the steps from the White House residence to the South Lawn, while the President, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff gazed at the South Lawn in a moment of silence.
“This is how you heal, you have to remember,” Biden said. “And it is also important to do that as a nation. Those who have lost loved ones, this is what I know: They have never really left. They will always be a part of their heart.”
The president, who lost his first wife and daughter in a car accident decades ago, and whose son Beau died after a battle with cancer in 2015, sympathized with those who have lost loved ones in the past year.
“I know what it’s like not to be there when it happens. I know what it is like when you’re there, holding their hands, looking into their eyes as they sneak away,” Biden said. “… That movie theater where they met. The morning coffee they shared together.”
The president called on the country to move forward in taking precautions to avoid more deaths. It’s not about politics, he said, it’s about neighbors, friends, daughters and sons, husbands and wives.
“We have to fight this as one people. Like the United States of America … the only way to save more pain and more losses, the only way,” he said.
Overall, the number of cases and deaths per day has been declining, and more than 44 million Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine in a two-dose regimen.
Despite the huge toll the virus has caused, former Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb sees reason for optimism in the months ahead. On CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday,“I think we’re going to continue to see infection rates go down during the spring and summer. Right now, they’re going down dramatically.” While he does not believe the US will ever get “true” herd immunity, because a large percentage of Americans have become infected and a growing number of people are getting vaccinated, the disease is spreading “at a much faster rate. slow”.