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Washington National Cathedral to toll its bell 400 times to honor those lost to coronavirus

Washington National Cathedral to toll its bell 400 times to honor those lost to coronavirus
© Getty Images

The Washington National Cathedral plans to toll its bell 400 times Tuesday evening in memory of the roughly 400,000 people who have died across the U.S. due to COVID-19.

The cathedral, whose doors have been closed to the public amid the pandemic, announced the plans on Twitter, adding that “The Cathedral will also be bathed in amber light and prayer.”

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The total number of U.S. fatalities due to COVID-19 will soon pass 400,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University

The U.S. leads the world in coronavirus deaths and infection rates, with more than 24.1 million total cases recorded. 

In April, the National Cathedral lit up in blue every night for a week to honor health care professionals, along with the words "Thank You" projected on the front of the church. 

Tuesday’s memorial event comes on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The former vice president has repeatedly promised to make the pandemic a central focus of his presidency once he takes office. 

Biden has committed to speeding up vaccine distribution efforts, and last week outlined his $1.9 trillion stimulus and relief proposal, which includes $415 billion focused on combating the pandemic, more than $1 trillion in direct aid to individuals and families and $440 billion in assistance to businesses.