The United States has lost nearly one million lives to the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and elected leaders in New York are marking the solemn moment.
The grim milestone comes just two years after the start of the pandemic. In response to the news, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams ordered flags on state and city buildings to be flown at half-staff in remembrance.
Flags on state buildings will be flown at half-staff on Friday, May 13th, the governor said.
"This tragic milestone serves as a reminder that despite our progress we must remain vigilant in the face of this pandemic,” said Hochul, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. “These were mothers, fathers, children, siblings, friends and neighbors and I don't want any more New Yorkers to go through the pain of losing a loved one to this awful virus, which is why it's so important to keep using the tools that keep us safe: get vaccinated, test regularly, and talk to your doctor about treatment if you're feeling sick."
According to CDC data, the United States marked 996,376 deaths as of Thursday evening. The state health department reports 71,068 people have died in New York. More than 40,000 of those deaths were in New York City, records showed.
In a statement on Thursday, Adams, who tested positive for the virus last month, echoed Hochul’s message that reaching this number serves as a moment for New Yorkers to recommit to staying safe in the pandemic.
“This is a sobering moment for reflection, and I join the millions of New Yorkers mourning these incalculable losses,” the mayor said in a statement on Thursday. "I implore all New Yorkers to get vaccinated, to get boosted, and to continue to wear masks in public indoor settings."
The mayor ordered flags at City Hall and at all other city buildings throughout the boroughs to be lowered to half-staff though May 16th.
The number of deaths in the state and city has continued to rise, with much of the state reaching the CDC’s highest risk rating. Earlier this month, New York City raised its own COVID level to “medium,” reflecting rising transmission citywide. Meanwhile, the federal government has stopped accepting reimbursement claims for COVID-19-related services as Congress has struggled to approve more pandemic aid.
Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the source of data for the number of Covid-19 deaths in New York.