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US records over 500 000 virus deaths


US records over 500 000 virus deaths
US President Joe Biden, Vice-President Harris, the First Lady, and the Second Gentleman during a moment of silence. (BBC)

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Washington – President Joe Biden addressed the nation as the US marks 500 000 deaths from COVID, 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.

The president and vice-president, and their spouses, then observed a moment of silence outside the White House during a candle-lighting ceremony.

More than 28.1 million Americans have been infected – another global record.

“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.

Biden ordered all flags on federal property to be lowered to half mast for the next five days.

At the White House, 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.

“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 continued.

He drew on 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.

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. (BBC)