President Joe Biden on Thursday marked the “tragic milestone” of 1 million American lives lost to COVID-19, calling each death an “irreplaceable loss.”
Biden calls 1 million U.S. deaths from COVID an ‘irreplaceable loss,’ orders flags lowered
“One million empty chairs around the dinner table,” Biden said in a statement. “Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic. Jill and I pray for each of them.”
Biden is directing flags on government buildings to be flown at half-staff for five days.
While COVID counts vary, the White House is using data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University, which showed deaths approaching the 1 million mark Thursday morning.
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Biden said he understands those who are grieving, asking themselves how they can go on without a loved one.
“I know the pain of that black hole in your heart,” said Biden, who has dealt with the loss of two of his children and his first wife. “But I also know the ones you love are never truly gone. They will always be with you.”
The president also used the moment to urge Congress to approve the additional funding he’s requested to continue to fight the pandemic. Without more money now, the United States will lose its place in line for new COVID treatments and vaccines for the fall when a new variant could hit, according to the administration.
Republicans have insisted that the funding could come from previously passed pandemic packages.
According to a report, The country, with a population of 329.5 million people, has recorded more than 80 million cases of coronavirus and has the highest number of reported deaths globally so far.
The United States has surpassed more than one million COVID-related deaths, the White House has said.
The country, with a population of 329.5 million people, has recorded more than 80 million cases of coronavirus and has the highest number of reported deaths globally so far.
President Joe Biden called it a “tragic milestone” and urged Americans to stay “vigilant against this pandemic”.
He told those grieving: “I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is unrelenting.
“But I also know the ones you love are never truly gone. They will always be with you.”
About 220 million Americans have been fully vaccinated but COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations continue to rise, although deaths are decreasing.
Mr Biden added: “We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lived as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before.
“In remembrance, let us draw strength from each other as fellow Americans. For while we have been humbled, we never give up.”
The virus claimed 36 lives in the US before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global pandemic in March 2020.
Since then, the country has seen several spikes as new variants have taken hold, with California, Texas and Florida among the states worst hit.
Brazil (664,000) and India (524,000) have the next highest numbers of deaths behind the US. About 176,000 people have died in the UK within 28 days of a positive test since the start of the pandemic.
The WHO estimates the pandemic has caused about 15 million deaths around the world due to a “significant undercount of total deaths directly and indirectly attributed to COVID-19”, although the official number reported is around six million.