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President Biden Led Nation In Moment Of Silence To Mark Coronavirus Milestone

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Debra Alfarone reports more than a half a million Americans have died from the coronavirus…including about 100-thousand since President Biden took office last month.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC - "AMAZING GRACE"]

- President Joe Biden, and Vice President Harris, and their spouses led the nation in a moment of silence as the US marks a heartbreaking milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. More than 500,000 Americans have died from the virus, more than double any other country.

- And now, President Biden is urging the nation to come together against the disease. CBS 4's Debra Alfarone reports from Washington.

[MUSIC - "AMAZING GRACE"]

DEBRA ALFARONE: "Amazing Grace" played outside the White House as 500 candles burn to represent a grim milestone. 500,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus.

JOE BIDEN: To remember so we can heal. To find purpose in the work ahead.

DEBRA ALFARONE: President Biden said the nation can't become numb to the sorrow.

JOE BIDEN: As we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, remember each person and the life they lived.

WENDY JENSEN: You know, there's people behind the numbers. I mean, our mom is behind that number, and it's really sad.

DEBRA ALFARONE: Wendy Jensen's mother Carol died last March, when the number of dead from COVID-19 was less than 2,000.

REBECCA REILLY: I love you. It's the last thing he said.

DEBRA ALFARONE: Rebecca Reilly's husband Michael died just before Christmas. More than 200,000 have since passed away from COVID.

REBECCA REILLY: It's indescribable, the pain. I don't know if you still get the-- feels like you're literally being punched in the stomach.

DEBRA ALFARONE: With more than 44 million people having received at least one vaccine dose, President Biden promised better days ahead.

JOE BIDEN: This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days again. This nation will know joy again.

DEBRA ALFARONE: The president ordered US flags to fly at half staff this week for those lost. Debra Alfarone, CBS News, Washington.