Biden, Harris honor COVID-19 victims ahead of inauguration

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President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris 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.

“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 Biden, and Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff.

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 Trump has long rejected criticism of his handling of the pandemic.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Death toll Donald Trump Doug Emhoff Jill Biden Joe Biden memorial

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