ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Hello, Global Citizen Live. I am joining you today from the National Mall, here in Washington, DC.
Behind me stand a sea of white flags, more than 600,000 in total, each representing someone who died from COVID-19 here in the United States. What these white flags demonstrate, in ways large, abstract numbers simply cannot, is the blanket of loss that covers this nation—a toll that eclipses that of the influenza pandemic of 1918.
Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed over four-and-a-half million lives. And this is just the reported number; we know the true number is likely far higher.
But what these flags, and this devastating loss of life globally, cannot speak to, are the many indirect effects of this pandemic across our planet. Like the tens of millions of people who have been pushed into poverty and extreme hunger because their markets shut down and their economies stalled. Or the “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence, as women and girls are forced to shelter in place with their abusers.
That is why, today, as President Biden and other world leaders race to vaccinate the world, I am also proud to announce that the United States will contribute more than $295 million to countries around the world to stave off famine and extreme hunger, confront gender-based violence, and address the urgent humanitarian needs the COVID-19 pandemic is leaving in its wake.
Together, we can defend the planet, defeat poverty, and end this pandemic, while warding off its worst effects.
Thank you so much.