Biden, Harris honor COVID-19 victims ahead of inauguration

Biden, Harris honor COVID-19 victims ahead of inauguration
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President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenJan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris to campaign with McAuliffe in Virginia Harris to highlight drought, climate change in Nevada trip Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair MORE honored the victims of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a day ahead of their inauguration.

Biden and Harris spoke briefly at the country's first formal event to recognize the nationwide toll of the coronavirus, which occurred on the same day U.S. deaths surpassed 400,000 people.

Speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial at sunset, Biden said he shared in the country's grief.

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“To heal, we must remember. It’s hard. But that’s how we heal. It is important we do that as a nation. That’s why we are here today,” Biden said at the somber event.

Harris noted that throughout the pandemic, families and friends have been unable to gather together to grieve properly.

"Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together," Harris said. "Though we may be physically separated, we, the American people, are united in spirit."

Biden was joined by his wife, Jill BidenJill BidenPresident, first lady honor teachers at White House awards ceremony Harris to campaign with McAuliffe in Virginia The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Remembrances flow in after Powell's death MORE, and Harris's husband, Doug EmhoffDoug EmhoffThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations — Global supply chain bottleneck worries for U.S. economy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Biden: We will fix nation's problems The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - New front in mandate wars; debt bill heads to Biden MORE.

Lori Marie Key, a nurse in the COVID-19 unit at St. Mary Mercy Livonia Hospital outside Detroit, sang "Amazing Grace." 

Biden will take office as the country is averaging more than 3,000 coronavirus deaths every day, according to Johns Hopkins University data, more than the number of people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The daily death toll will continue rising. 

The grim milestone of 400,000 deaths came on the final day of the Trump administration. President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE has long rejected criticism of his handling of the pandemic.