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President Biden Orders Flags At White House To Fly At Half-Staff In Memory Of 500K Lives Lost To COVID

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CBS4's Natalie Brand reports from the White House.

Video Transcript

- Now to the Biden presidency. Tonight, President Joe Biden has ordered flags at the White House to fly at half staff, not for one death, but for 500,000 lives lost in the US to the coronavirus pandemic. President Biden addressed the pandemic in his first meeting with a world leader, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

- Earlier today, the president led a discussion about COVID-19 concerns in the Black community. CBS4's Natalie Brand has all the day's developments from the White House.

NATALIE BRAND: President Biden discussed the coronavirus pandemic during his first official meeting with a world leader, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

JOE BIDEN: The sooner we get this pandemic under control, the better. And I look forward to seeing you in person in the future.

NATALIE BRAND: President Biden and his top domestic policy advisor, Susan Rice, listened to the concerns of Black essential workers during a virtual roundtable. The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to build trust and reduce reluctance towards the COVID-19 vaccine in communities of color, awarding $17 million to nonprofits for vaccine education and outreach.

MELANIE OWENS: If this is a part of or a major key of what's going to help us move past this and to go back to being able to live normally, I feel like we should do it.

NATALIE BRAND: Distribution and supply shortages remain another big challenge. Vaccine executives testified on Capitol Hill about efforts to step up production.

JOHN YOUNG: We'll be on track to deliver those 300 million doses before the end of July.

NATALIE BRAND: Later this week, FDA vaccine advisors are expected to consider Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine.

RICHARD NETTLES: We are ready to begin shipping immediately and deliver enough single doses at the end of March to enable the vaccination of more than 20 million Americans.

NATALIE BRAND: As the president's nearly $2 trillion COVID relief plan continues to work its way through the House this week, Senate Republicans say talks with the administration have stalled.

MITCH MCCONNELL: The Democrats are steamrolling ahead with a massive spending plan on a completely partisan basis.

NATALIE BRAND: Moderate Republicans, such as Maine senator Susan Collins, says she and others are now focused on drafting amendments for the legislation. Natalie Brand, CBS News, the White House.