Speed Reads

a solemn reminder

Biden orders federal flags be flown at half-staff to mark 1 million COVID deaths

In anticipation of the U.S. reaching 1 million COVID-19 deaths, President Biden on Thursday ordered flags at all federal buildings to be flown at half-staff until next Monday, The New York Times reports.

Additionally, Biden released a formal statement urging Americans to "remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible," before calling on Congress to "sustain these resources in the coming months." Billions in COVID aid is locked in a Senate GOP-led blockade despite the administration's warnings of dwindling resources and an impending wave of infections.

Biden's statement arrived before the start of his second COVID-19 summit, which is "aimed at injecting new urgency into the global coronavirus response," the Times writes.

As of mid-day Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported over 995,000 COVID deaths nationwide; a Times tracker put the number closer to 997,500. NBC News, meanwhile, estimated the U.S. to have crossed the 1 million mark last week.