Country will lower flags to half-mast for 500 thousand covid deaths

The president, Joe Biden, will order Monday that the flags of all federal buildings in the country, including the White House, fly at half mast for the next five days, as a sign of mourning for the almost 500,000 lives lost in the country due to covid-19.

“President Biden will order (this afternoon) that all flags on federal property be lowered to half staff for the next five days,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during her daily press conference.

The order will be issued during a solemn ceremony this Monday afternoon in which Biden will pronounce a few words in memory of the 500,000 deceased in the country by covid-19, a figure that will be reached in the next few hours, according to the independent count of the Johns Hopkins University.

This milestone of half a million deaths, more than those killed in any war in the United States with the exception of the civil war (1861-1865), makes the country the most affected by the pandemic, with more than double the number of deaths from the covid-19 than the second nation with the most deaths, Brazil.

To honor the deceased, Biden and the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, accompanied by their respective husbands, Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, will participate in a solemn ceremony in which candles will be lit outside the south entrance of the White House, and will remain a minute of silence.

Biden will also make statements “to underscore the magnitude of the loss that this milestone marks for the American people, for so many families across the country,” said Psaki.

The ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. (23:00 GMT) and will have a similar tone to the one that Biden and Harris starred in the day before their inauguration, on January 19, when they honored the more than 400,000 Americans who for then they had lost their lives due to illness.

On that occasion, Biden and Harris were silent in front of the Lincoln Memorial, one of Washington’s most iconic, as the reflecting pond in front was illuminated, for the first time in history, with 400 lights representing the lives lost due to the disease.

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Although during Biden’s first month in power the pace of daily deaths has slowed and the vaccination campaign has accelerated, the White House insists that there is still a very tough period ahead.

“We are still going to have to spend months and months of work and sacrifices to overcome the pandemic,” Psaki stressed this Monday.

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