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New York City's Empire State Building is lit up red to honor healthcare workers during the pandemic in May. Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

New York City's Empire State Building will be among hundreds of landmarks and buildings to light up across the U.S. on the eve of Joe Biden's inauguration to honor the nearly 400,000 American lives lost to COVID-19.

Driving the news: Tuesday's event is one of several planned by the Presidential Inaugural Committee to mark the occasion while avoiding crowds gathering in Washington, D.C., during the pandemic.

What to expect: In his first event after arriving in Washington, D.C., Biden will lead the "national moment of unity" from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, which will be illuminated with 400 lights from 5:30pm, according to a statement emailed to Axios by the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC).

  • Other places to light up for the tribute to coronavirus victims include Seattle's Space Needle in Seattle, buildings in Las Vegas, Miami, Houston and Chicago and tribal lands throughout the nation.
  • In Washington, D.C., Biden will be joined by incoming first lady Jill Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and incoming second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
  • Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington will deliver the invocation, while gospel singer Yolanda Adams will sing "Hallelujah" and Lori Marie Key, a nurse from Michigan, will sing "Amazing Grace."

What they're saying: PIC CEO Tony Allen said in an emailed statement that the inauguration "represents the beginning of a new national journey — one that renews its commitment to honor its fallen and rise toward greater heights in their honor."

  • "In that spirit, it is important that we pay tribute to those we have lost — and their families — and come together to unite our country, contain this virus, and rebuild our nation," Allen added.

Go deeper: "Field of Flags" takes root for Biden inaugural

Go deeper

Updated Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Biden delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the Capitol. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: The Celebrate America event, with remarks by Biden and Harris.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.