Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden hold a moment of silence during a candlelight ceremony Photograph:( AFP )
US President Biden ordered flags over all federal buildings to be lowered until sunset of 26 February even as Washington national cathedral marked the day by tolling the cathedral bell 500 times.
The United States crossed the grim milestone of 500,000 coronavirus deaths on Monday as President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff observed a moment of silence at the White House to commemorate the lives lost during the pandemic.
They stood silent as the hymn "amazing grace" was played as Biden spoke at the White House and urged Americans to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. He urged the people to set aside partisan differences and fight the pandemic together.
"Each day I receive a small card in my pocket, I carry with me, my schedule. It shows the number of Americans who have been affected by or died from COVID-19. today, we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone. 500,071 dead that's more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War-I, World War-II and the Vietnam war combined," the US President said.
"It is more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on Earth but as we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, remember each person and the life they lived," Biden added.
Biden ordered flags over all federal buildings to be lowered until sunset of 26 February even as Washington national cathedral marked the day by tolling the cathedral bell 500 times.
The United States is the worst-hit country due to the spread of coronavirus with over 28 milion cases and 500,176 fatalities so far.
The US accounts for the world's four per cent of the world population and has reported 19 per cent of the world's coronavirus deaths. The University of Washington projects the death toll could cross 5,80,000 by June.