The United States on Monday crossed the staggering milestone of 500,000 COVID-19 deaths just over a year since the coronavirus pandemic claimed its first known victim in Santa Clara County, California.
It comes just over a year after the first infection of the novel coronavirus, first detected in China, was recorded on the US west coast.
The grim milestone will be marked by a candle-lighting ceremony and moment of silence at the White House. President Joe Biden will also deliver remarks.
More than 28.1 million Americans have been infected - another global record.
President Biden ordered all flags on federal property to be lowered to half mast for the next five days in a proclamation released Monday afternoon.
"As of this week during the dark winter of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus," President Joe Biden said in a White House proclamation remembering the dead.
"That is more Americans who have died in a single year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined," he continued.
"On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one nation to defeat this pandemic."
The number of Americans who have had the coronavirus is nearly double that of second-highest India (11 million) and Brazil (10.1 million). Brazil has recorded the second-largest death toll at 244,000 while Mexico is in third with 178,000.
"People decades from now are going to be talking about this as a terribly historic milestone in the history of this country, to have these many people to have died from a respiratory-borne infection," the nation's top immunologist, Dr Anthony Fauci, told CNN on Sunday.
"It is an astonishing number. A year ago I could not have imagined that half a million Americans would lose their lives to this disease," said Dr Ashish Jha, dean of the school of public health at Brown University.