The United States on Tuesday surpassed 800,000 total COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
On Tuesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., led a moment of silence in front of the East Front Steps of the Capitol Building as lawmakers held candles in rememberance of those who lost their lives to the virus.
"Tonight, the Senate and House joined together in a moment of silence to honor the 800,000 Americans who have lost their lives to the COVID pandemic," Schumer wrote on Twitter. "We remember them. We hold them close to our hearts. And we will continue to fight to bring this pandemic to the end."
President Joe Biden in a statement Tuesday described the death toll as a "tragic milestone."
"We must remember each person and the lives they lived, and we pray for the loved ones left behind," Biden said. "I know what it's like to stare at an empty chair around the kitchen table, especially during the holiday season, my heart aches for every family enduring this pain."
The president added: "To heal, we must remember. We must also act," pointing to the nation's vaccination efforts as 202,504,037 people, or 61% of the U.S. population, have been fully vaccinated, and called for more Americans to get inoculated.
"As we head into the winter and confront a new variant, we must resolve to keep fighting this virus together. This means getting vaccinated and getting your booster shot and taking other prevention measures, such as masking," he said. "The vaccines are safe, effective, free, easy, and our best tool to prevent more loss and pain.If you wer fully vaccinated before mid-June, please go get your booster shot as soon as possible. And if you haven't already -- please get yourself and your school-age children vaccinated."
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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