DENVER — A ceremony was held in Denver on Tuesday to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19.
The ceremony, which featured a lighting of the Denver City and County Building, was held virtually on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.
Pat Duncan, who helped organize the event, told 9NEWS she never anticipated the staggering death toll the country now faces.
"It was a prediction that I hoped would not come true but it did," said Duncan.
The building was lit in amber lights as bells rung. The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), which organized the event, asked everyone who has lost someone to COVID-19 to light a candle at 3:30 p.m. when the lights were illuminated.
The Denver ceremony is part of the "National Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19" held at 5:30 p.m. ET in cities across the U.S.
A ceremony in Washington, D.C. featured the lighting of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, the illumination of buildings and ringing of church bells in a national moment of unity and remembrance.
“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey," said PIC Communications Director Pili Tobar. "However, in the midst of a pandemic – when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors – it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in this nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to unite our country, end the pandemic and rebuild our nation."
“The reason I chose this event is my family lost a nephew and an aunt to COVID-19," said Duncan. "Our family was devastated."
Duncan watched as lights reflected a soft glow onto the Denver City and County Building.
"Today is a celebration," she said. "Today we can celebrate. All of us that lost our family members to COVID, we can celebrate together."
According to the latest data from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), 4,502 people in Colorado have died due to COVID-19, as of Sunday, Jan. 18. CDPHE said there have been 376,171 cumulative cases in Colorado.
Additionally, 278,686 people have been immunized with one dose of the vaccine as of Jan. 18, and 49,744 have been immunized with two doses. Both vaccines currently authorized are about 95% effective and require two doses to achieve immunization.
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