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Biden to order flags to half staff to mark 500K virus deaths

Biden to order flags to half staff to mark 500K virus deaths
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President BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE on Monday will order flags on federal land be lowered to half-staff for the next five days to mark the United States surpassing 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden will also deliver remarks at a candle-lighting ceremony later Monday and hold a moment of silence.

"Tonight’s events, including the president’s remarks, will highlight the magnitude of loss this milestone marks for the American people and so many families across the country," White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense: White House open to reforming war powers | Army base might house migrant children | Fauci scolds military on vaccine Hillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction Facilities with migrant children can temporary return to pre-pandemic levels: official MORE said at a briefing. "He will also speak to the power of the American people to turn the tide on this pandemic by working together, following public health guidelines and getting vaccinated as soon as they are eligible."

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Psaki added that the remarks would not focus on the administration's pandemic response, but instead are intended to "have a human moment and a moment to remember the people who we've lost over the last year."

The United States is expected to surpass 500,000 deaths from COVID-19, roughly one year after the country confirmed its first deaths from the virus. The country has reported more than 499,000 deaths from the virus, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker, more than any country in the world.

Biden will be joined later Monday by Vice President Harris, first lady 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 second gentleman 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.

Monday's vigil will mark the second such event Biden has held since taking office to commemorate those who died from the pandemic. The day before his inauguration, Biden held a lighting ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial to honor those died from COVID-19.