Biden marks 500K lives lost from COVID-19

The president noted the grim milestone of more than half a million Americans dead from the coronavirus with a sober moment of silence and urging citizens to get vaccinated.
3:15 | 02/23/21

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Transcript for Biden marks 500K lives lost from COVID-19
Amid candles lit to honor those lost president Biden, first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, vice president kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff led a moment of silence for the 500,000 killed by the coronavirus. All this as the administration ramps up the vaccination effort. More than 44 million getting at least one dose so far and Johnson & Johnson's single dose vaccine could be authorized by the end of this week and there could be 20 million of those doses by the end of March. Our senior white house correspondent Mary Bruce starts us off with the very latest. Good morning, Mary. Reporter: Good morning, robin. Well, Joe Biden is urging Americans not to grow numb to this painful loss and these horrific numbers. Biden, of course, is a man who knows grief and is drawing on that personal experience to remember the more than 500,000 lives lost and to comfort all of those left behind. an emotional president Biden consoling a nation with a somber moment of silence marking a staggering milestone. More than 500,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus. We'll remember each person we've lost, the lives they lived of the loved ones that were left behind, we will get through this, I promise you. Reporter: The president memorializing the lives lost and urging Americans to fight this pandemic together. As we all remember, I also ask us to act, to remain vigilant, to stay socially distanced, to mask up, get vaccinated when it's your turn. Reporter: And this morning some good news, Johnson & Johnson announcing if authorized they expect to deliver enough doses of their single shot vaccine to vaccinate 20 million Americans by the end of March. The administration now racing to catch up with delays caused by winter storms. We now anticipate that all backlogged doses will be delivered by midweek. Reporter: The CDC now reporting that more than 44 million U.S. Adults have had at least one dose of the vaccine and nearly 20 million have had both doses and there are clear signs that vax nations along with the decrease in community spread are interesting a positive impact on nursing home deaths. Since early January, weekly deaths in nursing homes have declined by about 70%, in fact, the covid tracking project reports cases in nursing homes last week were the lowest recorded since may. In Illinois, Kate Wrigley and Ashley Kennedy haven't been able to visit their 85-year-old grandfather in person at his nursing home since March. They say they're grateful he's getting his second vaccine dose this week. We're excited and looking forward to when we get to see him again. We have missed him so much and we know we're very blessed that he's still here with us. Reporter: Now with new variants emerging there is still a long way to go. Two new studies out of San Francisco show that a California bred variant may be more infectious than others. It may explain the recent explosion of cases there and researchers are now requesting that the CDC add it to a watch list which could make it the first U.S. Variant added to that list, George.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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