President Joe Biden Pays Tribute to COVID’s 500,000-Plus Victims

President Joe Biden Pays Tribute to COVID’s 500,000-Plus Victims

For the second time in 33 days, President Joe Biden gathered the nation on Monday to mourn a loss it can no longer fathom, to collectively grieve after a year of grief beyond imagining, as the nation’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic officially crossed half a million people.

“We often hear people described as ‘ordinary Americans,’ but there’s no such thing,” Biden said, standing in the Cross Hall of the White House. “The people we lost were extraordinary.”

The pandemic year has seen more deaths, as the president noted in a proclamation commanding all U.S. flags be flown at half-mast until sundown on Friday, than the number of Americans who perished “in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined.”

“That’s more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on earth,” Biden said. “They’re people we knew. They’re people we feel like we knew… The son who called his mom every night, just to check in. The father’s daughter who lit up his world. The best friend who was always there. The nurse—the nurses—the nurse who made her patients want to live.”

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