As the deaths caused by COVID-19 in the United States approach the 500,000-mark, Us President Joe Biden is to honor the fallen with a candle lighting and moment of silence, Monday evening.
Biden to Mark 500,000 COVID-19 Deaths with Candle Lighting
On Sunday, the White House announced that the event to mark the grim milestone will happen at the White House grounds at around 6:15 PM ET. The event will be graced by Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as first lady Jill Biden, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
President Biden will deliver a message on the lives lost to the deadly disease before the ceremony. The candle lighting and moment of silence aim to put emphasis on the message of empathy that Biden is seeking to give the American people regarding the COVID-19 response since he took over the White House last month, The Hill reported.
During a press briefing on Friday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary stated that the Biden administration was already working on plans on how the President will be able to use his voice to honor those who died due to COVID-19. She also stated that it also seeks to reach out to families of the fallen who are still suffering.
In January, a day before they took office, Biden alongside Harris and their respective spouses also held a ceremony to mark the 400,000 lives claimed by COVID-19 in the country at the time. The ceremony was held at the Lincoln Memorial.
According to CNN, in a statement during last month's event, Biden emphasized that in order to heal people must always remember those who have fallen. Harris also spoke during January's memorial where she said that it was the time to begin healing together by grieving together.
Biden and Harris' approach was very different from Biden's predecessor, former President Donald Trump who rarely expressed grief for those who died amid the pandemic but always defended the administration's response. Trump also once said that while it is true that many people are dying, it does not mean that the government is not doing its part.
Despite the death toll nearing half a million, the Biden administration has stepped up to help fight COVID-19. It has already surpassed its initial goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of the vaccination drive.
However, despite the downward trend in the number of cases and the vaccination rate soaring, the US is still grappling to deal with the threats posed by the virus and its new variants. In a recent statement, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert stated that Americans can be wearing masks until 2022.
According to NBC New York, data from Johns Hopkins University show that as of Sunday evening the US has 498,879 COVID-19 deaths. The country is currently in the top spot in the global COVID-19 death toll, with Brazil in second but still having just half the number of deaths that the Us reported.
The candle lighting and moment of silence to honor the 500,000 COVID-19 deaths in the White House on Monday is Biden's way to emphasize his message that to heal people must remember.