the coronavirus crisis
President-elect Joe Biden's inaugural committee is planning a nationwide memorial for those lost to COVID-19.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee on Thursday said that before his swearing-in, Biden on Jan. 19 will lead a memorial for the Americans who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic, Axios reports. The U.S. COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 340,000.
"PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET in a national moment of unity and remembrance," the committee said.
Inauguration committee spokesperson Pili Tobar said that ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, "it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation's history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation," per The Washington Post.
In Washington, D.C., a memorial ceremony will include lights around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, which will be "the first time lighting around the Reflecting Pool has memorialized American lives lost," Axios writes.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, previously warned that the COVID-19 pandemic could get "really bad" around the middle of January especially after holiday travel and gatherings, and on Wednesday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ensemble forecast projected the U.S. death toll could reach between 383,000 and 424,000 by Jan. 23.