Republican Congressman told Fox News host Alicia Acuna that he “did not downplay the severity of the pandemic” with his comments, which he prefaced by stating that he thought the virus was real.
“I believe the COVID virus is real,” he said. “However, I don’t know if it’s worse than the common cold, and we got through the cold by developing extra vaccinations and herd immunity and things of that nature. “
He added: “We have to learn to live” with the virus.
Acuna did not rush him on the comments, before moving on to a question on the ongoing negotiations on an infrastructure bill.
Since the start of the pandemic, 613,092 people have died from the virus in the United States, according to data from John Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 4 million people have died from COVID-19. CDC data going back to 2010 shows that between 12,000 and 61,000 people have died from the flu in any given year.
The comments sparked negative reactions on social media.
“Maybe he needs to talk to grieving loved ones of those who have died from Covid or visit the hospital and talk to people in intensive care,” Twitter user @ MollyBrown28 wrote.
“Cold vaccinations and herd immunity?” Over 200 viruses are known to cause colds, ”wrote user @Woofkoof. “People don’t usually die in large numbers from colds. The United States alone has more than half a million deaths from COVID. “
In Arkansas, more than 6,000 people have died from the virus and cases are increasing rapidly due to the highly virulent Delta variant. More than 2,500 new cases were reported on Friday, up from 686 cases a month earlier on June 30, according to John Hopkins.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has urged some party members to take the pandemic and vaccinations more seriously. He said there shouldn’t be a partisan divide around the pandemic and vaccines.
“There shouldn’t be a partisan divide to begin with. But, clearly, the Conservatives are more hesitant about the government’s authority. That’s just the nature of it. And so I think in the southern states and some rural states you have a more conservative approach, skepticism of government, ”Hutchinson said in early July on ABC News’ This week.
Hutchinson has received reactions from some residents for his approach to the pandemic.
“As I was on my way to these public meetings, someone said, ‘Don’t call it a vaccine, call it a bioweapon.’ And they’re talking about mind control, ”Hutchinson told CNN State of the Union. “Well, these are clearly wrong. Other members of the community are correcting this. “
News week has contacted Crawford’s Washington DC office for comment. This story will be updated with any response.