stock American flag half staff

Gov. Mike DeWine declared Feb. 23 that all United States and Ohio flags at public buildings and grounds in the state be flown at half-staff until sunset on Feb. 26, in honor of the more than 500,000 American lives lost to COVID-19.

The U.S. surpassed the milestone of half a million dead on Feb. 22, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

DeWine said Feb. 22 there was no way last February to know what profound, persistent changes were around the bend.

“Certainly I did not have any idea of the magnitude of what we were headed into,” he said. “I don’t think anybody really understood — maybe somebody did — but no, I did not know that. I had no idea that, nationwide, we’d be crossing this figure of a half a million people dead.”

Also Feb. 22, President Joe Biden delivered remarks and observed a moment of silence for the 500,000 at the White House.

“We often hear people described as ordinary Americans. There's no such thing," he said. “There's nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary."

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