President Joe Biden delivered a speech remembering the 500,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus amid the pandemic, a sobering milestone the nation reached Monday.
Vice President Kamala Harris joined Biden at the White House memorial, gathering on the candle-lit steps of the presidential manor as a military band played “Amazing Grace.” Both Biden and Harris delivered remarks at the event. The U.S. surpassed 500,000 coronavirus deaths Monday afternoon, with more than 100,000 deaths since Biden took office. (RELATED: Moderna Says Its Vaccine Is Effective Against Coronavirus Variants, But Could Be Less Effective Against South African Strain)
“While we’ve been fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow,” Biden said. “We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or blurb or on the news. We must do so to honor the dead, and…to care for the living, those left behind.”
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris hold a candle light ceremony at the White House to honor the 500,000 Americans lost to Covid-19 pic.twitter.com/MkIpux3ZYJ
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) February 22, 2021
“It seems unbelievable but I promise you the day will come when the memory of the one you have lost brings a smile to your lips before a tear to your eye,” Biden said. “We will get through this, I promise you.”
While case numbers and deaths are declining, experts have warned of the effect that new variants of the virus could have on the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the branch of the disease spreading out of the U.K. and less effective — but still useful — against those spreading out of South Africa and Brazil.
The Biden administration says the vast majority of Americans will be vaccinated or have access to vaccination by the end of July.