President Joe Biden has led Americans in observing a moment of silence to commemorate the grim milestone of 500,000 US deaths from COVID-19, urging Americans to set aside partisan differences and fight the pandemic together.
"Today we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone - 500,071 dead. That's more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War One, World War Two and the Vietnam War combined," he said.
Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff marked a moment of silence on Monday evening at the White House after the president's remarks.
"As a nation, we can't accept such a cruel fate. While we've been fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to sorrow," Biden said in an emotional address.
Biden also ordered that all flags on federal properties and military facilities be lowered to half-staff for the next five days.
The president called on Americans to remain vigilant by continuing to wear marks, observe social distancing and receive vaccinations when it was their turn.
"We must end the politics of misinformation that have divided families, communities and the country. It's cost too many lives already," he said.
"We have to fight this together as one people, as the United States of America."
Biden, a Democrat, took office on January 20 after defeating Trump, a Republican, in the 2020 presidential election, in part by arguing he would do a better job of addressing the pandemic.
Trump played down the pandemic in its early stages and repeatedly predicted rosier numbers about the expected death toll in the United States than came to fruition.