President Joe Biden has marked a grim milestone as the United States passed 1 million deaths from COVID-19.

“Today, we mark a tragic milestone: one million American lives lost to COVID-19. One million empty chairs around the dinner table. Each an irreplaceable loss. Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic. Jill and I pray for each of them,” Biden said in a statement released on Thursday morning.

The president is set to order flags at half-staff on Thursday to commemorate the COVID-19 deaths. Nearly 600,000 of the deaths occurred during Biden’s term in office.

Biden sought to ease the pain of all those who have lost a loved one.

“To those who are grieving, and asking yourself how will you go on without him or what will you do without her, I understand. I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is unrelenting. But I also know the ones you love are never truly gone. They will always be with you,” he said.

The president also offered words to heal while saying Americans must remain “vigilant” against the virus.

“As a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow. To heal, we must remember. We must remain vigilant against this pandemic and do everything we can to save as many lives as possible, as we have with more testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before. It’s critical that Congress sustain these resources in the coming months.”

“In remembrance, let us draw strength from each other as fellow Americans. For while we have been humbled, we never give up. We can and will do this together as the United States of America. May God bless the one million American lives lost and their loved ones left behind,” Biden said.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration issued a warning that the U.S. could possibly see as many as 100 million COVID-19 infections this fall and winter.

“The projection of 100 million potential infections is an estimate based on a range of outside models that are being closely tracked by the administration and would include both the fall and winter, a senior administration official told CNN,” the network reported. “Officials say this estimate is based on an underlying assumption of no additional resources or extra mitigation measures being taken, including new Covid-19 funding from Congress, or dramatic new variants.”

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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