President Joe Biden marked the deaths of one million Americans from COVID-19 since the pandemic began more than two years ago, ahead of the second COVID-19 summit that he will be co-hosting on Thursday.
“One million empty chairs around the dinner table,” Biden said in a proclamation. “Each an irreplaceable loss. Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic.”
The President urged Americans not to “grow numb” to the pandemic, and called on Congress to take action as Republicans hold up a $10 billion COVID aid package.
“We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before,” he said. “It’s critical that Congress sustain these resources in the coming months.”
Biden ordered that federal flags to be flown at half-mast on Thursday until sunset on Monday in honor of the deceased.
The President’s remarks come before he co-hosts a second global summit with Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal on Thursday, which will be held virtually, to discuss objectives in responding to COVID-19.