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Joe Biden speaks as US hits 500,000 Covid deaths

In a somber address, the president urged Americans to overcome their political divides and follow health guidelines.

Joe Biden addressed US citizens on Monday calling for them to unify in the battle against Covid as the US surpassed half a million Covid deaths.

Joe Biden delivers Covid speech

Biden has previously been criticized for being overly cautious in setting targets for vaccine distribution, but the administration has announced that it has increased vaccination rates to 1.7 million a day, and is on track to meet its aim of delivering 100m shots within the first 100 days of the administration.

Biden’s speech was bookended by acts to honour the 500,000 deaths. Before his address, the National Cathedral sounded its bells 500 times; following the address, the President joined the first lady Jill Biden, Vice-president Kamala Harris, and second gentleman Doug Emhoff outside the White House, where they observed a moment of silence surrounded by 500 candles.

The President said in his address from the White House: “I ask all Americans to remember those we lost and those we left behind. But as we all remember, I also ask us to act, to remain vigilant, to stay socially distanced, to mask up, get vaccinated when it’s your turn. We must end the politics of misinformation that’s divided families, communities, and the country; that’s cost too many lives already. It’s not Democrats or Republicans who are dying from the virus. It’s our fellow Americans, it’s our neighbours. It’s our friends, our mothers, our fathers, our daughters, husbands, wives. We have to fight this together as one people, as the United States of America. That’s the only way we’re going to beat this virus, I promise you. As a nation, we can’t accept such a cruel fate. While we’ve been fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. Let this not be a story of how far we feel, but how far we climbed back up. We can do this. This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days again. This nation will know joy again and as we do we’ll remember each person we’ve lost, the lives they’ve lived, the loved ones they’ve left behind. We will get through this I promise you.”

The US has the worst death toll in the world, but the situation is improving. Hospitalizations have decreased by more than 50% in the country in the last month. Furthermore, Sunday’s statistics revealed that more than 13% of the US population has received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.

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