A family member looks into the casket of a loved one who died of Covid-19 in Denver in April.

Few signs of collective mourning as the US tops 170,000 coronavirus deaths

Updated 8:04 PM ET, Sun August 16, 2020

(CNN)Days after thousands of lives perished on 9/11, the United States marked a national day of prayer and remembrance for the victims of the worst terrorist attack in the nation's history.

President George W. Bush delivered words of comfort and encouragement at the packed National Cathedral in Washington, where four former US presidents as well as political and religious leaders gathered on a gray cloudy morning that gave way to bright sunshine.
"Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time," Bush said. "But goodness, remembrance and love have no end. The Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn."
For days mourners poured into houses of worship. Church bells tolled. The dead were remembered at candlelight vigils across the country.
Nearly two decades later, in the midst of another national tragedy that has the US surpassing 170,000 deaths from Covid-19, there have been few signs of collective mourning among Americans.
In fact, it wasn't until late May, with the death toll nearing 100,000, that flags on federal buildings would be lowered to half-staff to honor coronavirus victims and members of the military.
    The nature of the contagion is much to blame. Stay-at-home orders forced millions of Americans to isolate to keep the disease from spreading. The dying mostly died alone.