A display of 20,000 empty chairs was placed outside the White House in Washington DC on Sunday, in tribute to coronavirus victims in the United States.
The chairs, placed on the lawn across from the White House, represent less than 10% of the victims, as the US COVID-19 death toll stood at 210,637 as of Tuesday, according to data collated by the Johns Hopkins University.
The static display was organised by COVID Survivors for Change, a group of survivors and the families of those who have died after contracting the virus, as part of the National COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony.
20,000 empty chairs were set up outside the White House on COVID Remembrance Day. The powerful installation represented just a fraction of the nearly 210,000 people in the U.S. who have died from COVID-19 https://t.co/KCdl2sS9UL pic.twitter.com/SGnFNSRMH5— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 5, 2020
WATCH: As the president remains in Walter Reed hospital with Covid-19, 20,000 chairs have been placed on the Ellipse to represent a fraction of the over 200,000 Americans who have died from the virus.— Washingtonian (@washingtonian) October 4, 2020
🎥: @EvyMages pic.twitter.com/3mcxuYG2xO
Pastor William H. Lamar IV, an opening speaker at the event, which was planned before Trump tested positive for the disease, said that the display is intended to “place responsibility” on the Trump administration for the deaths; a result of the president not taking the pandemic “seriously”.
“I want the president and all with COVID to be well, but I also have to place responsibility upon the president and other leaders who have not taken this seriously,” said Lamar, quoted by NBC affiliate WJLA. “There is blood on the hands of those who refuse to do what is necessary to protect human beings.”
The National COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony also saw a video displaying the names of over 200,000 victims. The video, live-streamed during an event from the White House, also featured speeches from representatives of families that have lost members during the pandemic.
On Friday, Trump tweeted that he and the US first lady, Melania Trump, had tested positive for the coronavirus. The same day, the president and his wife were hospitalized at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. On Monday, Trump returned to the White House.
Trump has been repeatedly accused of downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, leading to over 210,000 Americans dead.