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Covid: US passes half a million Covid deaths Covid: Biden calls 500,000 death toll 'a grim milestone'
(32 minutes later)
Family mourn Gregory Blanks, 50, who died of Covid in January in Texas President Joe Biden addressed the nation as the US marks 500,000 deaths from Covid, the most for any country in the world.
The US has passed 500,000 deaths from Covid-19, the most for any country in the world. "As a nation, we can't accept such a cruel fate. We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow," he said.
It comes just over a year after the first infection of the novel coronavirus, first detected in China, was recorded on the US west coast. The president and vice-president, and their spouses, then observed a moment of silence outside the White House during a candle-lighting ceremony.
The grim milestone will be marked by a candle-lighting ceremony and moment of silence at the White House. President Joe Biden will also deliver remarks.
More than 28.1 million Americans have been infected - another global record.More than 28.1 million Americans have been infected - another global record.
President Biden ordered all flags on federal property to be lowered to half mast for the next five days in a proclamation released Monday afternoon. "Today I ask all Americans to remember. Remember those we lost and remember those we left behind," he said, calling for Americans to fight Covid together.
President Biden ordered all flags on federal property to be lowered to half mast for the next five days.
What 500,000 US deaths look likeWhat 500,000 US deaths look like
What did the White House say? What did Mr Biden say in his speech?
"As of this week during the dark winter of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus," President Joe Biden said in a White House proclamation remembering the dead. At the White House, Mr Biden opened his speech by noting that the number of American deaths from Covid is higher than the death toll from World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined.
"That is more Americans who have died in a single year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined," he continued. "We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There's no such thing," he said.
"On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one nation to defeat this pandemic." "There's nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary. They span generations. Born in America, emigrated to America."
"So many of them took their final breath alone in America," he continued.
Family mourn Gregory Blanks, 50, who died of Covid in January in Texas
He drew to his own experience with grief - his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash in 1972 and one of his son's died from brain cancer in 2015.
"For me, the way through sorrow and grief is to find purpose," he said in his live speech to the country.
Mr Biden's approach to the pandemic is different to his predecessor Donald Trump, who cast doubt on the impact of the deadly virus and was viewed as having politicised the wearing of masks and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
On 19 January, one day before Mr Biden took office, he held an event to mark 400,000 Americans dying of the disease.
Monday's event, marking the latest death toll, comes less than one month later.
Elsewhere in Washington, the bells at the National Cathedral tolled 500 times, once for every thousand Americans lost during the pandemic.
What's happening in the US?What's happening in the US?
The number of Americans who have had the coronavirus is nearly double that of second-highest India (11 million) and Brazil (10.1 million). Brazil has recorded the second-largest death toll at 244,000 while Mexico is in third with 178,000.The number of Americans who have had the coronavirus is nearly double that of second-highest India (11 million) and Brazil (10.1 million). Brazil has recorded the second-largest death toll at 244,000 while Mexico is in third with 178,000.
"People decades from now are going to be talking about this as a terribly historic milestone in the history of this country, to have these many people to have died from a respiratory-borne infection," the nation's top immunologist, Dr Anthony Fauci, told CNN on Sunday."People decades from now are going to be talking about this as a terribly historic milestone in the history of this country, to have these many people to have died from a respiratory-borne infection," the nation's top immunologist, Dr Anthony Fauci, told CNN on Sunday.
"It is an astonishing number. A year ago I could not have imagined that half a million Americans would lose their lives to this disease," said Dr Ashish Jha, dean of the school of public health at Brown University."It is an astonishing number. A year ago I could not have imagined that half a million Americans would lose their lives to this disease," said Dr Ashish Jha, dean of the school of public health at Brown University.
Covid map: Where have the 111m cases been?Covid map: Where have the 111m cases been?
"We have so much capability, so many resources in this country... this was all preventable and should not have happened. And yet here we are," he told BBC News on Monday. "And I think we have to reflect on all the ways in which our response went wrong.""We have so much capability, so many resources in this country... this was all preventable and should not have happened. And yet here we are," he told BBC News on Monday. "And I think we have to reflect on all the ways in which our response went wrong."
At least 90,000 more Americans are expected to be killed by 1 June, according to a recent projection from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).At least 90,000 more Americans are expected to be killed by 1 June, according to a recent projection from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
The IHME estimates that by late May, the virus will kill around 500 Americans per day - down from approximately 2,000 daily deaths now.The IHME estimates that by late May, the virus will kill around 500 Americans per day - down from approximately 2,000 daily deaths now.
Hospital admission rates have fallen for 40 straight days, as approximately 1.6 million vaccinations are administered to Americans daily. But experts are still very concerned about the growing number of coronavirus variants in the country, which could spark new deadly outbreaks.Hospital admission rates have fallen for 40 straight days, as approximately 1.6 million vaccinations are administered to Americans daily. But experts are still very concerned about the growing number of coronavirus variants in the country, which could spark new deadly outbreaks.
'Each one of these people mattered''Each one of these people mattered'
Despite the improving figures, Americans' life expectancy has dropped by one full year due to the coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week. The change has been most acute among racial minorities, who have been disproportionally affected by the deadly virus.Despite the improving figures, Americans' life expectancy has dropped by one full year due to the coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week. The change has been most acute among racial minorities, who have been disproportionally affected by the deadly virus.
Black men suffered the largest decline, with life expectancy dropping by three years between January and June 2020.Black men suffered the largest decline, with life expectancy dropping by three years between January and June 2020.
And Hispanic men saw a fall in life expectancy of 2.4 years during that period.And Hispanic men saw a fall in life expectancy of 2.4 years during that period.
US life expectancy falls by a year amid pandemicUS life expectancy falls by a year amid pandemic
How is the US marking half a million deaths?
At the White House, President Biden will be accompanied by his wife Jill, as well as Vice-President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff.
They will gather at the building's South Portico for a candle-lighting ceremony, which will take place just after sunset. Mr Biden will also deliver remarks and a moment of silence will be held for the victims of the pandemic.
Mr Biden's approach to the pandemic is different to his predecessor Donald Trump, who cast doubt on the impact of the deadly virus and was viewed as having politicised the wearing of masks and other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday that Mr Biden will ask all Americans to join the moment of silence.
His remarks, she said, will "highlight the magnitude of loss that this milestones marks for the American people and American families across the country".
"He will 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," she said.
On 19 January, one day before Mr Biden took office, he held an event to mark 400,000 Americans dying of the disease.