WASHINGTON — Five hundred candles glowed around President Joe Biden as he stood outside the White House in a moment of silence to honor the lives of the more than 500,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19.

“Today we mark a truly heartbreaking milestone: 500,071 dead,” Biden said during remarks in the Cross Hall of the White House before the moment of silence. “That’s more Americans who have died in one year in this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. That’s more lives lost to this virus than any other nation on Earth.”

The United States passed the grim milestone Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard. The toll comes less than a year after the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic.

First lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff were also present during the remarks and moment of silence. In addition to the moment of silence, the flag at the White House was lowered to half-staff and will remain until sunset on Friday.