President-elect Joe Biden, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, and their spouses Jill Biden and Douglas Emhoff respectively came together in Washington DC to honour over 4,00,000 Americans who lost their lives to coronavirus disease. The incoming White House occupants, along with Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff held a COVID memorial service in front of the reflecting pool of the Lincoln Memorial to pay tribute to the people who lost their lives. They also honoured the frontline workers.
Tonight, in Washington, D.C. and across the nation, we came together to honor the over 400,000 Americans we’ve lost to COVID-19. The last year has tested us in unimaginable ways, but now it’s time we begin to heal and overcome — together. pic.twitter.com/DuWhN1xjNO— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 20, 2021
"Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness along with this sacred pool of reflection and remember all who we lost," Biden said as he led the national tribute a day before his inauguration. The reflecting pool was illuminated with 400 lights on either side. Other parts of the country took part in the memorial service as well, including Washington National Cathedral, which mourned the death of 4,00,000 Americans by tolling its funeral bell 400 times, once for every 1,000 deaths.
The United States is the worst-affected nation in the world with more than 24 million cases and 4,00,000 deaths to date. On January 18, the US recorded more than 1,400 deaths and over 1,42,000 new cases. Biden has said that he will get more than 100 million Americans vaccinated in the first 100 days of his administration. Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package last week to address the hardships caused by the pandemic.
Biden and Harris will be sworn-in today by noon local time. The inauguration event has been curtailed keeping in mind the COVID-19 restrictions and also the security threat posed after the January 6 insurrection. No large crowds will be allowed this year as only 1,000 tickets have been sold as opposed to up to 2,00,000 during Trump's inauguration. Congress members are allowed to bring only one guest along with them this year.