DES MOINES, Iowa — A lawmaker from Van Buren County warned Iowans that COVID-19 “isn’t even killing anyone” and they should fear a vaccine more than the virus itself on Wednesday before walking back some of those statements hours later.
State Representative Jeff Shipley, a Republican from Birmingham, Iowa, made the remarks on the steps of the Capitol to members of Informed Choice Iowa, a group opposed to Iowa’s vaccinations policies. In a video shared on Twitter by Starting Line Iowa, tells the crowd that “this virus isn’t even killing anyone” and that lawmakers must think Iowans are “stupid” if they try to tell them otherwise.
Governor Kim Reynolds’ office reports at least 560 Iowans have died from COVID-19. Nationwide more than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
WHO 13 reached out to Shipley to clarify these remarks. He did not further explain why he believes no one has died from COVID-19. He offered a second video of him addressing the same crowd as a “clarification” of his remarks.
In that speech Shipley says that it is not “technically true” that no one has died from COVID-19. He did not explain what technicality he found with the reporting of COVID-19 deaths. Shipley told the crowd he returned to address the crowd again to “dumb it down for his ignorant brothers and sisters” in the Capitol.
Shipley also used his speeches to mock colleagues who chose to wear face shields inside the Capitol to protect others from the spread of COVID-19. Shipley told the crowd that no one who works in the Capitol has any idea what is going with COVID-19 and said the state’s response is propped up by unsubstantiated health theories.
Shipley is serving his first term representing House District 82. According to his biography on the Iowa House Republicans website Shipley has a bachelor’s degree in political science.