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Doug Emhoff, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden face the Reflecting Pool as they observe a moment of silence at a memorial for COVID-19 victims at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Cities across the U.S. lit up to honor Americans killed by the pandemic, as President-elect Joe Biden led a national mourning during a sunset ceremony in Washington, D.C., on the eve of his inauguration.

The big picture: Standing at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, surrounded by 400 lights to commemorate lives lost to COVID-19, Biden said: "To heal, we must remember." From New York City to Miami, city buildings were illuminated as part of this "national moment of unity," as the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 400,000.

The Empire State Building illuminates an amber hue to support the Biden Inaugural Committee's COVID-19 Memorial: A National Moment of Unity and Remembrance in New York City. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
The California State Capitol dome is lit to memorialize lives lost to COVID-19 as CHP officers and the National Guard continue to guard the perimeter in Sacramento, Calif. Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Ford Motor Company illuminates its world headquarters to support the COVID-19 memorial initiative in Dearborn, Mich. Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images
"Urban Light" by artist Chris Burden shines an amber hue to support the national remembrance in Los Angeles. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport illuminates an amber hue in remembrance of coronavirus victims. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Miami-Dade County Courthouse in Florida lit up for the memorial. Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.