Top congressional Democrats have asked President Donald Trump to order US flags, such as these shown in the capital Washington, lowered to half staff when the nation's coronavirus death toll reaches 100,000

Washington (AFP) - Top Democrats on Thursday urged President Donald Trump to order flags flown at half staff when the US coronavirus death toll reaches 100,000, saying the salute would reflect a “national expression of grief.”

“Our hearts are broken over this great loss” from the pandemic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer wrote in a letter to the president.

This weekend’s observation of Memorial Day, which honors those who died serving in the US military, coincides with the country likely reaching the grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 fatalities.

As of Thursday the nation had 93,558 confirmed virus-related deaths, by far the highest toll in a world severely impacted by the pandemic.

The two Democrats said it would be fitting to pay respects to victims of the crisis while honoring the nation’s military heroes.

“Respectful of them and the loss to our country, we are writing to request that you order flags to be flown at half staff on all public buildings in our country on the sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths,” Pelosi and Schumer wrote.

“It would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country.”

The United States has averaged nearly 1,300 coronavirus deaths per day this week.