‘They’re People We Knew’: Biden Marks ‘Grim’ Milestone as US COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 500,000

Earlier, the latest figures released by Johns Hopkins University revealed that the US’ COVID-19 death toll officially exceeded 500,000, marking a grim milestone as the nation continues its fight against SARS-CoV-2, the deadly virus that causes the novel coronavirus.

Commemorating the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who died from COVID-19, US President Joe Biden addressed the nation late on Monday, and urged viewers to “resist becoming numb” in spite of the rising death toll.

Speaking from the White House, Biden touched on his own personal lessons of grief, discussing the emotions he experienced after the deaths of his first wife Neilia, his daughter Naomi and his son Beau. 

Although Biden has previously spoken about those losses, Monday’s remarks saw the president underscore the additional burdens of not being able to be with a loved one or inability to host memorial services with family as a result of the pandemic. 

“I know what it’s like to not be there when it happens. I know what it’s like when you are there holding their hands as they look in your eye & they slip away, that black hole in your chest, you feel like you’ve been sucked into it,” Biden told viewers.

“As we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, remember each person and the life they lived. They’re people we knew. They’re people we feel like we knew. Read the obituaries and remembrances.”

“We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or on the news. We must do so to honor the dead. But, equally important, to care for the living,” he continued.

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