Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor announcing a moment of silence on the Capitol Steps in remembrance of the 800,000 American lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
This evening, I will join the Speaker and other Congressional Leaders on the Capitol Steps to mark a dreaded and sorrowful milestone—800,000 Americans—800,000—have now lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will hold a moment of silence in their memory.
As Americans come together for the holidays—as we take stock of the long road we’ve taken this year—many of us carry in our hearts an unresolvable contradiction: gratitude for the progress we’ve made, but grief for the loss we’ve endured along the way.
Thanks to vaccines, tens of thousands of deaths—maybe even hundreds of thousands—have been thankfully prevented. Across the country Americans are returning to work and once again meeting at bars, restaurants, and concerts. Our country is far better off today than we were one year ago.
But on this day, this day we will remember that 800,000 loved ones did not make it this far: a lost father or grandfather, mother or grandmother, a friend, a familiar face in the neighborhood. All of us know of someone whom this disease has taken away.
And of course, we are not out of the woods yet: as the omicron variant makes its way across the country I urge my fellow New Yorkers, and all my fellow Americans, to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible if eligible. Vaccines remain the best—the best—way to bring this disease to an end.
I hope the milestone we observe today is the final one in our fight against this awful disease. With vaccines we can rid ourselves of COVID and avoid adding to the awful sum that we’ve reached this week.
As for those we have lost today, today we remember them, we hold them close to our hearts, and we commit to doing our part to bring this pandemic to an end.