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Days after the United States reached its latest, grim milestone of 900,000 COVID-19 deaths, driven in part by the omicron variant, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. rang its bourdon bell in memory of the lives lost.
Watch the bell ringing in the player above.
Cathedral officials have tolled the bell, which is used for funerals, for each 100,000 deaths connected to the coronavirus pandemic. The Rev. Randy Hollerith, the cathedral’s dean, said it was the cathedral’s way of honoring each person who has died from COVID.
“We just never imagined at the time that we would not only ring it for 200,000; 300,000; 400,000; 500,000,” he said. The 900,000 lives lost in the country “is a figure I can’t even comprehend,” he added.
READ MORE: National Cathedral’s bell tolls again as COVID deaths hit ‘figure I can’t even comprehend’
Although the omicron surge is slowing down in parts of the U.S., the variant’s spread is still setting records inside and outside the country. Deaths are topping 2,400 per day on average, according to the latest figures by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. is expected to hit 1 million deaths later this year.
As it has for past milestones, the cathedral plans to mark the occasion once it happens.
Members of Congress will hold a moment of silence for the 900,000 deaths later Monday evening.
Joshua Barajas is the arts editor for the NewsHour. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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