At a Monday briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that President Biden has ordered flags to be lowered at half-mast on federal property. This action will continue for five days in honor of the 500,000 deaths due to coronavirus in the U.S. This toll exceeds the number of lives lost in the Civil War.
The Monday evening ceremony included remarks, a candle lighting ceremony and a moment of silence. The president was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden. Vice President Harris, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and other leaders were also present.
The President addressed the nation and spoke of the power to turn the tide against the pandemic by working together and following pandemic guidelines and getting vaccinated as soon people become eligible.
NPR’s Allison Aubrey mentioned that this sad milestone of half a million deaths exceeded the worst case scenario and latest research showed that the pandemic was the main cause for average U.S. life expectancy, to fall by year, in the first six months of last year. Unfortunately the U.S. still leads the world in the number of deaths as well as the number of infections.
Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that this death toll was “historic” while speaking in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.
He said that it was nothing like the nation has ever been through in over 102 years, when the influenza pandemic had raged across the world in 1918. He also said that the loss of so many lives from a “respiratory borne infection” was a terrible situation that the nation has been through and that “we’re still going through.”
In February, the nation is finally seeing a decrease in the average daily infections. For the first time since November, the new infections have finally dropped below 100,000. However, as new and more easily transmissible variants are spreading across the U.S., getting vaccinated and following COVID-19 protocols are still the highest priorities.
Image Credit White House