Trump orders US flags lowered to half-staff for COVID-19 victims

Trump orders US flags lowered to half-staff for COVID-19 victims

Protesters against the state's extended stay-at-home order demonstrate in Olympia
A person waves an American flag during a protest against the state's extended stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as hundreds gather to demonstrate at the Capitol building in Olympia, Washington on Apr 19, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson)

WASHINGTON, DC: President Donald Trump on Thursday (May 21) ordered US flags to be lowered to half-staff for three days in honor of Americans who have died from COVID-19.

The announcement came as the US COVID-19 death toll approaches the 100,000 mark, and follows calls by Democrats to lower the flag when it reaches that grim milestone.

"I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus," Trump tweeted.

The Republican president added that flags would remain at half-staff on Monday for the country's Memorial Day, honoring those who have died while serving in the US military.

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While US daily death tolls are no longer on a steady incline, the losses are still mounting, with the total count in the US above 94,500 - by far the nation with the most deaths in the world.

The Memorial Day weekend will likely coincide with the country reaching 100,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Earlier in the day, top Democrats said flying the flags at half-staff upon reaching the 100,000 mark would reflect a "national expression of grief".

"Our hearts are broken over this great loss," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer wrote in a letter to the president.

The pair said it would be fitting to pay respects to victims of the crisis while honoring the nation's military heroes.

The United States has averaged nearly 1,300 coronavirus deaths per day this week.

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Source: AFP/jt

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