President Biden pays tribute to the families of one million Americans who have died from Covid-19

President Joe Biden today paid his respects to the families of the one million Americans who died from Covid-19, telling grieving relatives he knows

President Joe Biden today paid his respects to the families of the one million Americans who died from Covid-19, telling grieving relatives he knows

President Joe Biden today paid his respects to the families of the one million Americans who died from Covid-19, telling grieving relatives he knows “the pain of that black hole in your heart.”

Biden said he acknowledged the “unwavering” pain of those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic as the president marked the devastating milestone of one million deaths in the US.

He called on residents to “stay vigilant against this pandemic” and said it was “critical” for Congress to fund resources such as testing, vaccines and treatments.

The president said in a statement: “Today we mark a tragic milestone: one million American lives lost to COVID-19.

‘A million empty chairs around the dining table. Each an irreplaceable loss. Each leaving behind a family, a community and a nation changed forever because of this pandemic. Jill and I pray for each of them.’

President Joe Biden today paid his respects to the families of the one million Americans who died from Covid-19, telling grieving relatives he knows

President Joe Biden today paid his respects to the families of the one million Americans who died from Covid-19, telling grieving relatives he knows

President Joe Biden today paid his respects to the families of the one million Americans who died from Covid-19, telling grieving relatives he knows “the pain of that black hole in your heart.”

He added: “For those who are grieving and wondering how to move on without him or what to do without her, I understand.

“I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It’s unrelenting. But I also know that the ones you love are never really gone. They will always be with you.’

Biden’s son Beau, an American veteran who served in the US, died in 2015 at the age of 46 after battling brain cancer.

Beau reached the rank of major in the United States Army and National Guard, enlisted in the military in 2003, and was deployed to Iraq in 2008 when he was the Attorney General of the State of Delaware.

“As a nation, we must not become numb to such grief,” Biden said. ‘To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible.”

For many, the toll of more than a million deaths was difficult to comprehend.

“It’s unfathomable,” said Diana Berrent, one of the first people in New York state to get Covid-19, of the toll far exceeding epidemiologists’ worst predictions as the crisis breaks out in the spring of 2020.

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Then New York City was the epicenter of the virus. Hospitals and morgues overflowed and the sound of ambulance sirens echoed through empty streets as then-President Donald Trump reacted chaotically in Washington.

Two years later, life in the Big Apple has largely returned to normal as residents attempt to overcome the collective trauma of the virus that killed 40,000 New Yorkers.

Biden called on Congress to provide more funding for testing, vaccines and treatments, something lawmakers have so far refused to provide.

The lack of funding — Biden has requested an additional $22.5 billion of what he calls much-needed money — is a reflection of the faltering determination at home that is jeopardizing the global response to the pandemic.

Eight months after he used the first such summit to announce an ambitious pledge to donate 1.2 billion doses of vaccine to the world, the urgency of the US and other countries to respond has ebbed.

The momentum for vaccinations and treatments has faded, even as more infectious variants rise and billions of people around the world remain unprotected.

The White House said Biden will address the opening of the virtual summit Thursday morning with pre-recorded remarks, stating that tackling COVID-19 “must remain an international priority.” The US will host the summit together with Germany, Indonesia, Senegal and Belize.

In recent weeks, the United States has seen a rise in daily virus cases, largely due to the new Omicron subvariant.

The increase coincided with the lifting of mask mandates.

“I think we’re in a place where people are largely psychologically, socially and economically done with the pandemic,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University.

“(But) the pandemic is not over yet. So you have a mismatch between what’s happening epidemiologically and what’s happening in terms of how people respond,” she told AFP.

Among the most at-risk groups are the unvaccinated, lower-income populations, uninsured people and communities of color, she says.

America recorded its first Covid-19 death on the West Coast in early February 2020. The following month, the virus ravaged New York and the White House predicted up to 240,000 deaths across the country.

But those forecasts were far off.

Trump was late to social distancing, repeatedly undermined top scientist Anthony Fauci, peddled unproven medical treatments and politicized the wearing of masks — before eventually being hospitalized with the virus himself.

In New York and other urban centers in the Northeast, hospitals are becoming overloaded and morgues don’t seem to keep up with the dead.

“There were nurses who said that if they closed their eyes at night, they could hear the patients struggling to breathe and they couldn’t get it out of their heads,” recalls Boston nurse Janice Maloof-Tomaso.

Ideological clashes over curfews and mask and vaccine mandates ensued as America racked up the world’s highest death toll.

But Trump did pump billions of dollars into vaccine research, and the first vaccines were available to health professionals in mid-December 2020.

However, the death toll continued to rise amid a slow shot of gunfire in conservative parts of the country, with 500,000 dead in February 2021.

Biden and many Democratic governors enforced mandates, but Republican-led states like Florida and Texas outright banned them, highlighting the patchwork of rules in America that made forming a unified response to the pandemic difficult.

“We went from ‘stay home and save lives’ to let it go,” recalls Berrent, 47, who founded the Survivor Corps group in 2020 after her illness for people looking for information about long-term Covid or a current infection.

The question is no longer, ‘Have you had Covid?’ It’s, “How many times have you had Covid and what symptoms do you still have?”

The US has shipped nearly 540 million doses of vaccine to more than 110 countries and territories, according to the State Department — far more than any other donor country.

After the delivery of more than 1 billion vaccines to the developing world, the problem is no longer that there are not enough injections, but a lack of logistical support to get doses into weapons.

According to government data, more than 680 million donated vaccine doses have been left unused in developing countries because they were soon to expire and could not be delivered quickly enough. By March, 32 poorer countries had used less than half of the COVID-19 vaccines sent to them.

U.S. aid to promote and facilitate vaccinations abroad dried up earlier this year, with Biden asking about $5 billion for the effort for the remainder of the year.

“We have tens of millions of unclaimed doses because countries don’t have the resources to build out their cold chains, which are basically the cooling systems; to fight disinformation; and to hire vaccinators,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week.

She added that the summit “will be an opportunity to make clear that we need additional funding to continue to be part of this effort around the world.”

“We will continue to fight here for more funding,” Psaki said. “But we will continue to urge other countries to do more to help the world move forward.”

Congress has objected to the price tag for COVID-19 aid and has so far refused to accept the package amid political opposition to the impending end of pandemic-era migration restrictions on the US-Mexico border.

Even after a brief consensus on virus funding emerged in March, lawmakers decided to halt global aid funding and focus aid solely on bolstering U.S. stocks of vaccine booster shots and therapies.

Biden has warned that without Congressional action, the US could lose access to the next generation of vaccines and treatments, and the nation won’t have enough booster doses or the antiviral drug Paxlovid later this year. He is also sounding the alarm that more variants will emerge if the US and the world don’t do more to contain the virus worldwide.

“To beat the pandemic here, we have to beat it everywhere,” Biden said at the first global summit last September.

Source: New feed