Biden calls for national moment of silence for 500,000 US COVID-19 deaths | Inquirer News
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Biden calls for national moment of silence for 500,000 US COVID-19 deaths

/ 06:35 AM February 23, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden announces changes to the main U.S. coronavirus disease (COVID-19) aid program for small businesses during brief remarks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 22, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden called on Americans to observe a moment of silence on Monday to commemorate the grim milestone of 500,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19.

Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff were scheduled to hold a moment of silence at 6:15 p.m. Eastern Time at the White House after the president’s remarks.

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“I ask all Americans to join us as we remember the more than 500,000 of our fellow Americans lost to COVID-19 and to observe a moment of silence at sunset,” Biden said in a proclamation.

Biden also ordered all flags on federal properties and military facilities be lowered to half-staff for the next five days, Psaki said.

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“Tonight’s events, including the president’s remarks, will highlight the magnitude of loss that this milestone marks for the American people,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. “He will also speak to the power of the American people to turn the tide on this pandemic by working together, following … public health guidelines, and getting in line to be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.”

About 19% of total global coronavirus deaths have occurred in the United States, an outsized figure given that the nation accounts for just 4% of the world’s population.

The country has the highest overall death figures, reflecting the lack of a unified, national response last year, when the administration of former President Donald Trump mostly left states to their own devices in tackling the greatest public health crisis in a century.

Biden, a Democrat, took office on Jan. 20 after beating Trump, a Republican, in the 2020 presidential campaign, in part by arguing that he would do a better job of addressing the pandemic.

Trump downplayed the pandemic in its early stages and repeatedly predicted rosier numbers about the expected death toll in the United States than came to fruition.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19 death toll, United States, US Pres. Joe Biden
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