Biden to mark nation crossing 500,000 COVID-19 deaths

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden speaks after a tour of a Pfizer manufacturing site in Portage, Mich. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden will mark the U.S. crossing 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House.

The nation is expected to pass the grim milestone on Monday, just over a year after the first confirmed U.S. fatality due to the novel coronavirus.

More than 28 million Americans have contracted the virus nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The White House said Biden will deliver remarks at sunset to honor those who lost their lives. He will be joined by first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. They will participate in the moment of silence and lighting ceremony.

(L-R) Incoming Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, incoming US First Lady Jill Biden, and US President-elect Joe Biden watch as a Covid-19 Memorial is lighted at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2021 to honor the lives of those lost to Covid-19. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Biden has made a point of recognizing the lives lost from the virus. His first event upon arriving in Washington for his inauguration a month ago was to deliver remarks at a COVID-19 memorial ceremony after the United States topped more than 400,000 coronavirus deaths.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris led a lighting ceremony at the Reflecting Pool at the Lincoln Memorial followed by a moment of silence and 400 bell tolls at the National Cathedral to symbolically honor the COVID-19 dead.

President Biden announced earlier this month that the U.S. will have enough supply of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million people and remains focused for now on making sure every American is inoculated, administration officials say.

Last year, President Biden announced a vaccination goal of 100 million coronavirus shots in his first 100 days in office.

New figures from the White House show the steady increase in the pace of vaccinations over President Biden’s first month in office.

More than 63 million Americans have received their first shot of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports that nearly 75 million doses have been distributed across the country.

Much of the increase, according to data from the CDC, comes from people receiving their second dose of the approved vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer.

Biden is on track to beat his goal of 100 million injections in his first 100 days in office — though the pace must pick up even further to meet his plans to vaccinate nearly all adults by the end of the summer.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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