The United States is set for a changing of the guard on Tuesday as President Donald Trump steps out of the White House in favor of president-elect Joe Biden. On the eve of the ceremony and the transfer of power, the country reached a grim milestone as the coronavirus continues to weigh heavily on Americans. The death count from COVID-19 reached 400,000 on Tuesday.
On the day before he departs for the capital to take on his new mantle, Biden delivered a message hoping to reaffirm his commitment to ending the pandemic and getting America past the coronavirus. "To heal we must remember," Biden began. "It's hard sometimes to remember. But that's how we heal. It's important to do that as a nation." Biden has made it known that he is entering Wednesday with a ready-to-go plan that is prepared to combat the toll that COVID-19 has left on the country. Before beginning that, though, the former Vice President wanted to take the time on Tuesday to remember as a country all of the lives that have been lost. "That's why we're here today," he continued. "Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights on the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection and remember all who we lost."
"Let us shine the lights in the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection and remember who we lost," Pres.-elect Joe Biden says in solemn moment at lighting ceremony honoring victims of COVID-19. https://t.co/c7ZW4GUVZ3 pic.twitter.com/kyrd4nbr3Q— ABC News (@ABC) January 19, 2021
The past month and a half has been extremely daunting for the country in terms of the impact COVID-19. Deaths jumped from 300,000 to 400,000 in 36 days, the fastest jump of six figures the nation has ever seen since the pandemic began in March. As experts had warned long before, the winter months have proven to be challenging for many as outdoor options become less and less for many as the weather shifts to colder months for the season. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also chimed in on Tuesday during Biden's speech as she remembered all of the lives lost amid the tragic outbreak. "For many months, we grieved by ourselves. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together," Harris remarked.
The staggering tally also comes as the country sees a slower-than-expected rollout of the vaccine. Governors across the United States have informed their constituents that the slow approach is due to a lack of supply. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told Ohioans about the delays he has already had to issue to various groups, explaining that a full rollout may not come until March when Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine is readily available.