COVID-19: President Biden calls 500,000 death toll a ‘heartbreaking milestone’

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President Joe Biden has ordered that U.S. flags on federal property be lowered to half staff for five days, as the country crossed the grim milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Biden in addition, spoke at an event at the White House that included a moment of silence and a candle lighting ceremony.

The National Cathedral in Washington also tolled its bells 500 times on Monday evening to honour the lives lost to COVID-19 in a livestream event, according to a notice on its website.

These are some of the commemorative moves as the country pondered over the record death toll from the pandemic, since the coronavirus pandemic claimed its first known victim in Santa Clara County, California.

The country had recorded more than 28 million COVID-19 cases and 500,054 lives lost as of Monday afternoon, according to a Reuters tally of public health data.
However, daily cases and hospitalizations have fallen to the lowest level after the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

The country’s poor performance reflects the lack of a unified, national response last year, when the administration of former President Donald Trump mostly left states to their own devices in tackling the greatest public health crisis in a century, with the president often in conflict with his own health experts.

In 2020, the virus has taken a full year off the average life expectancy in the United States, the biggest decline since World War Two

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