Rep. Jim Jordan touted video footage of a stadium packed with people attending a recent college football game and said it showed that “Real America” is done with the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican, shared the footage on social media Tuesday, prompting criticism from some users on account of the coronavirus pandemic still ravaging the U.S. and other parts of the world.
The video showed thousands of people shoulder-to-shoulder in the stands of Saturday’s game at the University of Wisconsin, hopping up and down, while the 1989 song “Jump Around” by House of Pain is played.
“Real America is done with #COVID19,” Mr. Jordan said on Twitter, where he shared the clip. “God bless!”
More than 70,000 people filled the seats of the Camp Randall Stadium in Madison to attend the Wisconsin Badger football team home opener Saturday, an ABC affiliate reported afterward.
Face masks were encouraged but not required within the outdoor stadium, WISN-12 reported. Virtually every attendee seen in the video appears unmasked and in close proximity to other fans in the stands.
Several critics of Mr. Jordan subsequently took issue with his tweet claiming “Real America is done” with COVID-19, a contagious respiratory disease that has killed more than 600,000 Americans since 2020.
“Please define exactly what you mean by ‘Real America’,” designer and author Jason Cranford Teague asked from his verified Twitter account. “Are they done or dead?”
Moe Davis, a former Democratic congressional candidate, tweeted that Mr. Jordan “is right about 647,461 real Americans who are dead from COVID … they’re done with it.”
“Covid is not done with ‘Real America,’” actress Patricia Arquette reacted to the congressman’s tweet. “Not by a long shot.”
Mr. Jordan, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, later defended his remark during a Wednesday morning appearing on Fox News.
“It’s so good to see this, getting back to normal, getting back to real American life. What better way than to have fans in the stands for college football?” Mr. Jordan said on “Fox & Friends.”
“We want to be Americans and exercise our freedom like we’re supposed to in this great country,” Mr. Jordan added.
While most of the U.S. effectively shut down when the coronavirus pandemic started in 2020, many institutions have recently begun to return to normalcy as more Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19.
Some football stadiums and other venues have recently been filled for the first time in more than a year, causing public health officials to caution people to continue taking appropriate precautions.
“I don’t think it’s smart,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said in response to being asked to comment Tuesday on images showing another recently packed football stadium.
“Outdoors is always better than indoors, but even when you have such a congregate setting of people close together – first, you should be vaccinated. And when you do have congregate settings, particularly indoors, you should be wearing a mask,” Dr. Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said during the CNN interview.
Ninety percent of the campus population at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were considered to be fully vaccinated as of earlier this month, the school announced in a press release last week.
Vaccines prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19 but do not completely stop people from spreading the virus to others.
Nationwide, more than 47,000 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded Tuesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 100,000 new cases were reported daily most days during the last month, according to CDC data.