President Joe Biden has this week marked the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic with a candle-lit memorial and heartfelt speech at the White House.
Keep scrolling to hear what he had to say...
Now, February 22nd, 2021 wasn't a date to celebrate.
Yesterday marked the moment America's COVID-19 death-toll crossed the 500,000 mark - the highest number for any country in the world.
Obviously, this is an utterly devastating development in the ongoing pandemic.
Back in January 2020, when the words "coronavirus" and "COVID-19" first emerged in our headlines, most of us didn't anticipate what the next twelve months had in store.
As the virus, which originated from China, swept across the globe, countries began locking down...
And we watched in both disbelief and despair as major cities shut down for the first time in decades.
Civilians were also ordered to self-isolate within their homes...
And, ever since, it has become the dreary norm to experience little to no social contact or interaction on a day-to-day basis.
It's been a testing time, to say the least...
But as for our response to the pandemic? Well, it's been nothing short of diabolical.
From the get-go, former President Donald Trump refused to acknowledge the severity of the pandemic.
As America's COVID-19 numbers began to creep up in January, Trump remained confident that he "had everything under control," and repeatedly stressed to concerned reporters that "we're in very good shape and I think China's in very good shape also."
And, even as the numbers skyrocketed into the tens of thousands...
“We’re going to be pretty soon at only 5 people, and we could be at just 1 or 2 people over the next short period of time” — Trump on US coronavirus cases on February 26 (there are now more than 10,000 cases in the country) pic.twitter.com/0O6IouQhJJ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 19, 2020
Trump continued to stress that this pandemic would merely pass us by with a handful of deaths.
Well, how wrong he was.
Even after his delayed lockdown announcement, the COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to climb, putting us in prime position to be one of the worst affected countries in the world.
Trump's attitude towards the virus was heavily criticized...
Close up of President @realDonaldTrump notes is seen where he crossed out "Corona" and replaced it with "Chinese" Virus as he speaks with his coronavirus task force today at the White House. #trump #trumpnotes pic.twitter.com/kVw9yrPPeJ— Jabin Botsford (@jabinbotsford) March 19, 2020
Can you think of any other world leader who seemed more concerned about calling it the "Chinese Virus" than the safety and wellbeing of his people?
And did any other world leader casually suggest injecting bleach to combat the virus in a televised press conference?
After hearing presentation President Trump suggests irradiating people's bodies with UV light or injecting them with bleach or alcohol to deal with COVID19. pic.twitter.com/cohkLyyl9G— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 23, 2020
Safe to say, people were in uproar.
Anyway, many people believe that it was this response to the pandemic that lost him his reelection.
And, on November 7th, Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, was elected as the forty-sixth President of the United States.
However, despite the country now being under Biden's rule, the death toll has continued to trickle up...
And yesterday, we officially reached the gloomy milestone of 500,000 deaths.
It makes for grim reading.
COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. - behind heart disease and cancer, but ahead of accidents, respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer's, and the flu, according to annualized federal health statistics.
Of course, with the vaccine rollout, there is light at the end of the tunnel...
But, on the day of the devastating milestone, President Biden decided to host a candle-lit memorial at the White House for all those who have lost their lives to the virus.
He also delivered a moving speech, which touched the hearts of millions across the nation.
joe biden’s live speech on Covid-19 tonight was absolutely beautiful, idc— ci🌙 (@ciannaaa__) February 23, 2021
I don’t actually tweet that often but thank god Joe Biden is in charge now, his speech on COVID-19 today about loss hits so true and close to the heart and has me thinking of my father— James Rohr (@Blutegel) February 23, 2021
@JoeBiden’s speech marking 500,000 Covid -19 deaths is authentically sorrowful and instructive— Instructive about how to mourn and respect not just those we know but those we don’t know. He’s my human-in-chief.— PaulAngeloVitello (@paul_vitello) February 22, 2021
I don't cry often, but listening to @JoeBiden's speech during #Covid memorial had the tears flowing. Biden's shared pain was palpable, a welcome empathy that we never received from #Trump.https://t.co/VU9PMY0Oin https://t.co/N6MlDdlmbx— Silvija Vecrumba (@SVecrumba) February 23, 2021
During the ceremony, the president reflected on the pain of the nation.
"Today, we mark a truly grim, heart-breaking milestone," he said in a speech to the nation before praying in silence on the South Portico of the White House, where five-hundred candles were lit to symbolize the 500,000 dead.
He described those who died as "extraordinary."
"We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There's no such thing. There was nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary."
You can watch his full speech below.
Very well said, President Biden.