More than half a million people in the United States have now died from COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — a devastating milestone one year into the pandemic, which has upended so many aspects of life across the country and around the world. The milestone comes as vaccination efforts roll out nationwide but new variants continue to emerge, creating uncertainty about the future.

It has been 13 months since the U.S. confirmed its first case of the virus, but the death toll has only intensified in recent months. More than 138,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. just since January 1.

At 5 p.m., the flag at the White House was lowered to half staff and the bells at the National Cathedral began to toll. President Biden delivered remarks a short time later to commemorate the lives lost, and then Mr. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses held a moment of silence.

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