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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 BidenBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Myanmar military conducts violent night raids Confidence in coronavirus vaccines has grown with majority now saying they want it MORE and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package It will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it Trump sued by Democrat over mob attack on Capitol 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 BidenJill Biden redefines role of first lady Biden faces criticism over push to vaccinate teachers Overnight Health Care: Biden slams Texas, Mississippi for lifting coronavirus restrictions: 'Neanderthal thinking' | Senate panel splits along party lines on Becerra |Over 200K sign up for ACA plans during Biden special enrollment period MORE, and Harris's husband, Doug EmhoffDoug EmhoffEmhoff reflects on interracial marriage case: Without this 'I would not be married to Kamala Harris' Biden leans into empathizer-in-chief role Biden mourns 500,000 American lives lost to coronavirus 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 TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout MORE has long rejected criticism of his handling of the pandemic.