President Joe Biden has ordered the US flag to be hung at half mast on federal government buildings to mark that half a million people in the United States have died from the effects of the coronavirus since Monday. The flag remains at half mast for five days in tribute to the victims.
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, which closely tracks statistics around the virus, reported around 10:40 pm that the mark of half a million corona deaths has been passed.
The US is by far the world leader in the number of deaths. This also applies to the number of infections, which now stands at more than 28 million. The mark of 400,000 US corona-related deaths was passed over a month ago and the threshold of 100,000 at the end of May. In all countries combined, nearly 2.5 million people have died from COVID-19.
Biden gives a speech at the White House about the grim milestone around midnight (Dutch time), followed by a moment of silence and the lighting of candles. His wife Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, among others, are present.
More American dead than during World War II
Biden has made the fight against the corona virus one of the spearheads of his policy. “500,000, that’s nearly 70,000 more than all Americans who died in World War II in four years,” he said recently.
The US vaccination campaign has ramped up significantly since Biden took office a month ago. About 44 million people have now received at least one vaccination, which corresponds to more than 13 percent of the population. Nearly 19 million Americans have been given two doses.