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Biden Orders Federal Flags to Fly at Half-Staff as U.S. Covid Toll Nears One Million


President Biden, predicting the milestone of one million American lives lost to Covid-19, said in an official statement on Thursday that the United States must remain committed to combating a virus that has “forever changed” the country.

“We must stay alert to this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have with more tests, vaccines and treatments than ever before,” he said. “. “It is important for Congress to maintain these resources in the coming months.”

The statement was made a few hours before Mr. Biden convened his second Covid-19 summit, which aims to inject new urgency into the global coronavirus response. At the summit, both Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who represented the United States in the opening session with world leaders, used mark the upcoming milestone.

Mr. Biden also issued a statement on Thursday ordered flags to be flown at the White House and all federal buildings at half-staff until next Monday to mark one million deaths.

As of Wednesday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 995,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States; one New York Times Database put the number over 997,000. But with heads of state, leaders of charities and drug manufacturers attending the virtual gathering, Mr. Biden is ready to mark the coming moment.

Entering the third year of the pandemic, Covid-19 has become third leading cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease and cancer. Its money has stretched deep into the lives of families across the United States. One estimated 250,000 children the loss of a parent or caregiver to Covid-19; Among them, nearly 200,000 children lost both parents.

The pandemic has also defined Biden’s presidency. Mr. Biden took office vowing to conquer Covid-19, but hopes of achieving “herd immunity” through a combination of vaccinations and exposures have given way to the stark realization that the ability to protect The vaccine’s protection against infection can be weakened, and new variants make reinfection more likely. Political divisions have impeded the mission of masks and vaccines.

Thursday’s meeting was an attempt by the president to get Covid-19 back on the radar, both in the United States and globally. The White House asked Congress for $22.5 billion in new emergency coronavirus aid, but the request stalled on Capitol Hill, as did the proposed compromise for $10 billion in aid.



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