President Biden on Thursday marked the approaching milestone of 1 million U.S. deaths in the coronavirus pandemic.
"One million empty chairs around the dinner table. Each an irreplaceable loss," he said in a statement. "Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic."
Biden went on to say, "As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow. To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before."
The president ordered flags at the White House and other public buildings flown at half-staff.
Johns Hopkins University reported 999,053 U.S. COVID deaths as of Thursday morning.
The U.S. has reported over 82 million positive COVID-19 cases, but new cases have plummeted and deaths have dropped from an average of more than 2,500 per day during the winter surge, to an average of 320 deaths per day this week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.