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Biden to mark 500,000 COVID-19 deaths in US with candle-lighting vigil

Chris Sommerfeldt, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

President Joe Biden is set to host a candle-lighting vigil at the White House on Monday evening to mark the U.S. coronavirus death toll reaching a devastating 500,000 lives lost.

The White House vigil, set to start around 6 p.m. EST on the South Portico, will begin with remarks from Biden, according to the president’s public schedule.

Joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, second gentleman Doug Emhoff and first lady Jill Biden, the president will then hold a moment of silence for the victims of COVID-19 as the candle-light ceremony unfolds.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll stood at 499,186 on Monday afternoon, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. It passed the grim 500,000 threshold later in the day, reminding the nation of the horrific toll the pandemic continues to inflict.

On the eve of his inauguration last month, Biden attended a somber ceremony at the Washington Memorial to mark the U.S. death toll reaching 400,000.

 

“To heal, we must remember,” Biden said at that event.

Despite the pandemic playing out mostly on his watch, former President Donald Trump never held any such memorials for the victims of the virus while in office.

Instead, Trump frequently downplayed the severity of the virus.

“It is what it is,” Trump said of the COVID-19 death toll in an interview with Axios in September.

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