Joe Biden sworn in as the 46th US president today, Wednesday, 20 January 2021. Joe Biden, a 78-year-old former vice president and longtime senator, will take the oath of office at noon (1700 GMT) on the US Capitol’s West front, the very spot where pro-Trump rioters clashed with police two weeks ago before storming Congress in a deadly insurrection.

With the death toll soaring past 400,000, Biden on Tuesday led a powerful tribute to victims of COVID-19 as he arrived in Washington.

Biden, who has suffered deep personal tragedy and is known for his public displays of emotion, has stressed the need to unite the country after Trump’s chaos.

“It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation,” Biden said in somber remarks at the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

With the pandemic raging, the general public is essentially barred from attending the swearing-in, leading to unprecedented optics: an empty National Mall on Inauguration Day.

Washington has taken total control with some 25,000 National Guard troops tasked with preventing any repeat of this month’s attack.

Biden’s first day is expected to be packed, with aides saying recently he would sign perhaps a dozen executive orders that could address the pandemic, the ailing US economy, climate change and racial injustice in America.