White House COVID-19 response team holds briefing as US approaches 500K deaths

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The White House COVID-19 response team held a briefing Monday addressing the recent inclement weather in parts of the United States and its impact on delivering shipments of vaccines. The briefing came as the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 nears 500,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“Today alone, we plan to deliver 7 million doses,” said White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt. “This is a combination of a catch up from last week’s doses that were delayed from the weather and doses going out as a normal part of today’s normal distribution.”

As the nation is expected to cross this grim milestone Monday, President Joe Biden will deliver remarks at sunset to honor those who lost their lives. He will be joined by first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff. They will participate in the moment of silence and lighting ceremony.

In recent weeks, virus deaths have fallen from more than 4,000 reported on some days in January to an average of fewer than 1,900 per day.

Still, at almost half a million, the toll recorded by JHU is already greater than the population of Miami or Kansas City, Missouri. It is roughly equal to the number of Americans killed in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. It is akin to a 9/11 every day for nearly six months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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