This is VOA news. Via remote, I'm Marissa Melton. U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have marked the United States 500,000 death from COVID-19 with a candle light vigil and a moment of silence. The United States passed the landmark on Monday. Biden ordered all U.S. flags to be flown at half staff for the rest of the week and he made remarks Monday at the White House. He said, "As we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we remember each person and the life that they have lived." Just before their inauguration last month, Biden and Harris held a vigil for coronavirus victims at the Lincoln Memorial as the United States total eclipsed past 400,000 victims. The death toll rose by 100,000 in the past month alone.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday said some of the world's wealthiest nations are hampering efforts by his agency and its partners to get vaccines to the world's poorest nations. Tedros took part in a joint virtual news conference, along with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to talk about the WHO- facilitated international vaccination initiative COVAX, designed to obtain and equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines throughout the world. Speaking from WHO headquarters in Geneva, Tedros said some high-income countries are entering into contracts with vaccine manufacturers that undermine the deals that COVAX has with those same companies. He said the deals reduce the number of doses COVAX can buy. He did not name the high-income countries he mentioned. Tedros said it is in the interest of all countries, including the high-income ones, to ensure that health workers, older people and other at-risk groups are first in line for vaccines. From Washington, you're listening to VOA news.