Washington National Cathedral tolls bell 900 times to mark US Covid deaths

'Each soul is irreplaceable,' US President Joe Biden said of milestone

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The Washington National Cathedral in the US rang its bell 900 times on Monday evening to recognise the 900,000 deaths from Covid-19 that have been registered in the country, a milestone that was reached last week.

“Our nation marks another tragic milestone — 900,000 American lives have been lost to Covid-19,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement on Saturday.

“They were beloved mothers and fathers, grandparents, children, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends. Each soul is irreplaceable.

“We pray for the loved ones they have left behind and together we keep every family enduring this pain in our hearts.

“After nearly two years, I know that the emotional, physical and psychological weight of this pandemic has been incredibly difficult to bear.”

Each ring of the cathedral's 12-tonne bell represents 1,000 lives lost to Covid-19 in what has become a national expression of grief.

“This cathedral joins you in grieving the lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic and we share the pain of anxiety and loss in these uncertain times,” organisers said in a memorial hosted on the cathedral's website.

“As a house of prayer for all people, this cathedral aims to serve as a sacred space where the nation can come together at times of both joy and sorrow.”

The cathedral is officially known as the Protestant Episcopal Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington.

The 57-acre cathedral often hosts funerals for national leaders, such as former senator Bob Dole and former US secretary of state Colin Powell.

You can watch the YouTube video stream of the bells here.

Updated: April 27, 2022, 1:39 PM