Feb 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on COVID deaths milestone: "We have to resist becoming numb"

Photo of Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff standing outside the White House with heads bowed and candles lit surrounding them
President Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and first gentleman Douglas Emhoff at the White House ceremony. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden urged Americans to "remember those we lost and remember those we left behind" in a candle-lighting ceremony Monday — noting the "grim milestone" of the U.S. surpassing 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Details: "As a nation, we can't accept such a cruel fate. We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow," the president said, calling on the U.S. to fight the coronavirus together.

  • "We must end the politics and misinformation that have divided families, communities in the country," Biden said. "It has cost too many lives already."

Of note: The number of American deaths from the coronavirus is now higher than the number of U.S. soldiers who died in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined, Biden noted in his speech.

  • "We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There's no such thing," he said. "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 added.
  • Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses held a moment of silence to honor those who passed.

The big picture: The 500,000 mark comes less than a month after Biden held an event to observe the 400,000 coronavirus deaths toll in the U.S.

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