President Biden on Monday mourned the more than 500,000 Americans lost to the novel coronavirus and called for unity in the battle against the pandemic.
In personal remarks from the White House, Biden reflected on the “truly grim, heartbreaking milestone” of surpassing 500,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19. He described his own experiences of grief and losing loved ones as he paid tribute to those who have died over the past year.
“As a nation, we can’t accept such a cruel fate,” Biden said. “While we have been fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or on the news. We must do so to honor the dead but, equally important, care for the living, for those left behind.”
Biden noted at the outset of his address that he carries a card every day that shows him the number of Americans who have died from COVID-19. He also referenced correspondence with Americans impacted by the virus, including a man he met on a trip to Michigan last week whose father-in-law was dying from COVID-19.
“The birthdays, the anniversaries, the holidays without them. And the everyday things — the small things, the tiny things — that you miss the most: that scent when you open the closet, that park that you go by that you used to stroll in. That movie theater where you met. That morning coffee that you shared together.”
The United States passed the grim threshold of 500,000 American deaths from the coronavirus earlier Monday, about a year after the first confirmed death due to COVID-19 in the country. Almost 2.5 million people have died worldwide from the virus.