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Joe Biden’s inaugural committee is hosting a memorial late Tuesday afternoon in remembrance of the more than 400,000 Americans who have now died from Covid-19.
The grim milestone was passed earlier on Tuesday as the latest figures from Johns Hopkins university show that about 401,128 people have now been killed by the virus in the US amid more than 24m cases – both numbers being by far the highest in the world.
“Tonight’s #COVIDMemorial is a chance to reflect and honor those no longer with us,” the committee said in a tweet about the event. “Join us in a national moment of unity at 5.30pm ET by lighting a candle in your window.”
The memorial marks the first large-scale acknowledgment of Covid-19’s massive toll on individuals, families and communities across the US. The president-elect’s recognition of the tragedy stands in stark contrast to Donald Trump, who repeatedly downplayed the dangers of coronavirus amid a botched response by his administration that frequently included peddling conspiracy theories and denialism.
Organizers of the memorial event are calling upon attendees to participate from their own homes and have asked that participants light candles in their windows and ring bells for a “national moment of remembrance”.
The ceremony will feature the “first” lighting of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool in honor of those who died from coronavirus, organizers said.
Officials across the US have announced their cities’ participation.
“Tonight we’ll join President-elect @JoeBiden, Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris and our fellow Americans to remember those we lost to #COVID19. We honor the 25,000 New Yorkers taken by this virus. We will never forget what our city and country have endured. #COVIDMemorial,” the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, said.
Biden has promised a sweeping plan to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including vaccinating 100 million US residents in his first 100 days in office. While the top US infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, said this plan is “absolutely a doable thing”, Biden will inherit a coronavirus response that has repeatedly been described as a “mess”.
The federal government distributed vaccines to US states, and then left allocation protocols up to them. This scattershot approach, coupled with longstanding deficiencies in the US public health system, has stymied efforts to vaccinate Americans on a large scale.
Some local officials have warned that they will soon run out of the vaccine if they don’t receive additional federal shipments.
This botched vaccine rollout is all the more dangerous because a new Covid-19 variant, which is more transmissible, is poised to become far more prevalent, burdening the healthcare system even more.
It’s unclear whether Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus plan will get necessary bipartisan support. Congress members in both parties have voiced concern about the cost.
Members of Biden’s administration have nonetheless voiced optimism.
“There’s been bipartisan support for all of these pieces,” Kate Bedingfield, the incoming White House communications director, said during a recent TV appearance. “This plan reflects the urgent needs, the things that people need right now.” “We’ve got millions of Americans unemployed. We’ve got thousands of Americans dying from the virus every day. There’s no question we are in a state of emergency here, and this plan is designed to get the relief that people need to them right away.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Joe Biden to hold memorial for 400,000 Americans who have died of Covid-19 | Coronavirus