House lawmakers abandoned social distancing protocols on Sunday evening as Speaker Nancy Pelosi read the oath to officially swear in the new freshman members of the 117th Congress.

While many of the members appear to be wearing masks, video shows hundreds of lawmakers wandering around the chamber speaking with each other in close contact and shaking hands. 

New York Times reporter Emily Cochrane called the scene “utter chaos” noting some lawmakers removed their masks to speak. She added that, following the swearing in ceremony, a “bottleneck of people” raced to leave, “barely” attempting to social distance.  

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Pelosi issued a tweet after the ceremony in which she said Congress’ “most urgent priority will continue to be defeating the coronavirus.”

However, a spokesperson for Pelosi did not immediately return FOX News’ request for comment on the event’s lack of social distancing. 

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According to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University, the United States has surpassed 20.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 351,000 Americans have died since the beginning of the pandemic. 

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