The United States passed a grim “heartbreaking milestone” in its battle against COVID-19 on Monday when the death toll from the disease surpassed 500,000, a staggering number that is more than the combined American casualties during World War I. World War II and WWII the Vietnam War.
“As a nation we cannot accept such a cruel fate. We have fought this pandemic for so long. We must fight against becoming deaf. We must fight against seeing every life as a statistic or blurb.” on the news, “President Joe Biden said Monday as he led the nation in mourning the dead.
“Today we mark a really grim, heartbreaking milestone – 500,071 dead,” Biden said at a candlelight ceremony at the White House to mark the grim milestone. More than 28.1 million Americans were also infected – another world record. He also took part in a moment of silence, standing next to 500 burning candles outside the White House, along with First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff.
Biden, a Democrat, said efforts should be made to end the politics and misinformation that has divided families and communities in the country. Realizing that the pandemic has already cost too many lives, he said it is not the Democrats and Republicans who are dying from the virus – it’s the American people.
Biden’s approach to the pandemic differs from his predecessor Donald Trump, a Republican who questioned the effects of the deadly virus and politicized the wearing of masks and other measures to prevent the virus from spreading. Citing the US death toll of 500,071, Biden said, “That’s more Americans who died in one year – this pandemic – than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined.
That’s more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on earth. But as we acknowledge the extent of this mass death in America, we remember every person and the life they lived, he said. According to media reports, the US recorded an estimated 405,000 deaths in World War II, 58,000 in Vietnam and 36,000 in Korean War.
Biden said the people who died from COVID-19 are extraordinary and span generations. The people we have lost are extraordinary. They span generations. Born in America, immigrated to America; but just like that, so many of them took their last breath in America alone, he said.
“We have to do this to honor the dead, but just as important – care for the living – those who are left behind. I know all too well for the loved ones left behind. I know what it is like to be away when it happens, he said. Biden asked all Americans to remember those who had lost and left behind.
But as you remember, as we all remember, I also ask us to act – to remain vigilant – to say – to remain socially distant, to mask ourselves. Get vaccinated when it’s your turn. We must end the politics and misinformation that has divided families and communities in the country, Biden said.
We must fight this together as one people – as the United States of America. This is the only way we can fight this virus, I promise you, he said. The Volkshaus. Your house. We ask you to join us. To remember so we can heal. Find meaning in the work ahead. To show that there is light in the dark. This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days again. This nation will experience joy again, said Biden.
Elsewhere in Washington, the bells in the National Cathedral rang 500 times on Monday, once for every thousand Americans who lost in the pandemic.
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