The Washington National Cathedral has tolled its bell 500 times in honour of the 500,000 Americans lost to the Covid-19 virus.
A memorial service was held on Monday to mark the grim milestone, with prayers and reflections being offered by leaders from a number of different faiths. The live-streamed event featured Rev Canon Jan Naylor Cope, provost of the National Cathedral, who read a passage from the Book of Common Prayer.
“We thank you for giving them to us, to know and to love as companions on our earthly pilgrimage," she said. "In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
President Joe Biden marked the occasion at the White House, lighting a candle and observing a minute's silence.
“This nation will smile again. This nation will know sunny days again. This nation will know joy again," he said in a statement. "And as we do, we will remember each person we’ve lost, the lives they lived, the loved ones they left behind."
Biden added: "We will get through this, I promise you. But my heart aches for you - those of you who are going through it right now. May God bless you all, particularly those who have lost someone. God bless you.”
With over half a million recorded deaths, the USA has lost by far the most people to Covid out of any country in the world. The second-worst affected nation in terms of deaths is Brazil, which has seen over 248,000 perish from the disease. The UK has logged more than 120,000 deaths so far.
Globally, just under 2.5 million people have died from the virus.