President Biden begged vaccine-reluctant Americans to roll up their sleeves for COVID shots Saturday as he marked what he called a “painful milestone”: the 700,000th death associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
“We must not become numb to the sorrow,” Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. “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 asserted that “we have made extraordinary progress in our fight against COVID-19 over the last eight months because of the vaccines.”
About 300,000 deaths were attributed to COVID-19 before vaccines began to be administered in December 2020. But another 400,000 deaths were added to the grim total in the 10 months since — leading to a higher average monthly death rate in the post-vaccine era than in the months before.
Still, Biden said, “the astonishing death toll is yet another reminder of just how important it is to get vaccinated.”
“If you haven’t already, please get vaccinated,” Biden implored. “It can save your life and the lives of those you love.”