This Thursday, May 12, the U.S. reached a tragic milestone as it crossed the one millionth death toll from COVID-19, a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has claimed 6.25 million lives worldwide.
"Today we mark a tragic milestone: one million American lives lost to COVID-19. One million empty chairs around the table. Each one is an irreplaceable loss. Each one leaves behind a family, a community, and a nation that have been forever changed because of this pandemic," the president said Joseph Biden in a statement issued by the White House.
The president said that "we must not fall asleep in the face of this pain", because in order to heal, it is necessary to remember.
In this regard, he stressed that it is necessary to remain vigilant to the COVID-19 pandemic and to do everything we can to save as many lives as possible.
"In remembrance, let us draw strength from each other as compatriots. For though we have been humbled, we never gave up. We can and will do this together as the United States of America," he said.
Biden said that in memory of the one million American lives lost by COVID-19 and the loved ones left behind, he is ordering that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, as well as at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and all of its territories until sunset on May 16, 2022.
I also direct that the flag fly at half-staff for the same period at all U.S. embassies, delegations, consular offices, and other U.S. facilities abroad, including all military installations, ships, and naval stations.
The United States is the country with the highest number of registered deaths in the world, followed by Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico.
Although the United States was one of the first countries to begin administering vaccines against the virus, the immunization rate is currently just over 65 percent of its population, which is why the country has redoubled its efforts to reach the most vulnerable communities and make progress in its numbers.
Also on Thursday and under the leadership of the United States, Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal, world leaders from all the world's economies, civil society and the private sector met at the 2nd COVID-19 Global Summit.
Summit participants made political and financial commitments to make vaccines available to those most at risk, expand access to testing and treatment, and prevent future health crises.
The Summit, the U.S. government said, focused on avoiding complacency, recognizing that the pandemic is not over; on protecting the most vulnerable, including the elderly, the immunocompromised and frontline health workers; and on preventing future health crises, recognizing that now is the time to secure political and financial commitment for pandemic preparedness.
From a financial standpoint, leaders committed to provide nearly $2 billion in new funding, in addition to pledges made earlier this year.
The funds, which will seek to accelerate access to vaccines, tests and treatments, will contribute to a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund based at the World Bank.
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