President BidenJoe BidenProgressives hit back after moderates take aim at Pelosi John Kerry expresses optimism about upcoming climate summit Biden’s Red Queen justice: How he destroyed both the investigation and the reputation of border agents MORE urged the public to get vaccinated on Saturday in a statement acknowledging the United States has surpassed 700,000 deaths related to COVID-19.
“To heal we must remember, and as our nation mourns the painful milestone of 700,000 American deaths due to COVID-19, we must not become numb to the sorrow,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House Saturday afternoon.
“On this day, and every day, we remember all those we have lost to this pandemic and we pray for their loved ones left behind who are missing a piece of their soul,” he continued.
The U.S. marked the grim milestone on Friday as the nation grapples with a sustained wave of coronavirus infections fueled in large part by the highly infectious delta variant.
As of Saturday afternoon, the death toll stood at 700,757, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University.
Close to 65 percent of the total U.S. population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine while nearly 56 percent have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Last month, Biden announced a rule through the Labor Department that businesses with more than 100 employees would be required to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing. The move marked the latest effort by the administration to up the number of inoculations in the country.
Some companies have already mandated vaccines.
The administration began administering booster doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for people ages 65 and over, as well as adults who are at higher risks of contracting the virus due to a medical condition or their jobs.
According to CDC data, 4.74 million people have received a booster dose. Biden publicly received his booster shot on Monday.
“The vaccines are safe, free, and easy—and we have made extraordinary progress in our fight against COVID-19 over the last eight months because of the vaccines,” Biden said in his statement. “Hundreds of thousands of families have been spared the unbearable loss that too many Americans have already endured during this pandemic.”
“If you haven’t already, please get vaccinated. It can save your life and the lives of those you love. It will help us beat COVID-19 and move forward, together, as one nation,” he concluded.