The Covid-19 death toll in the US has topped 500,000, a staggering number that all but matches the number of Americans killed in the Second World War, Korea and Vietnam combined.
President Joe Biden held a sunset moment of silence and a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House and ordered American flags to be lowered at federal buildings for the next five days.
“We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow,” Mr Biden said. “We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur.”
The grim milestone, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, comes as states redouble efforts to get the coronavirus vaccine into arms after last week’s winter weather closed clinics, slowed vaccine deliveries and forced tens of thousands of people to miss their shots.