An American congressman who once downplayed the seriousness of coronavirus infection calling it “beer virus” has said that he is infected with it. In a Twitter post, Representative Don Young, from Alaska, confirmed that he had contracted the infection and would be “working from home”. His announcement comes as the state’s governor warned that health care and public safety systems were at risk of being overwhelmed by the rapid spread of the virus.
I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time. May God Bless Alaska.— Rep. Don Young (@repdonyoung) November 12, 2020
The 87-year-old Republican who was recently re-elected to his 25th term had, in March, ridiculed the COVID-19 pandemic saying that all infection-related concerns were “created primarily by hysteria.” Mocking the infection in a public speech in Palmer, he had said, “I call it the beer virus. How do you like that?". Downplaying the infection, he had said that it anyway attacked “us senior citizens” adding that the state and the nation had to go back and forth with everyday activities.
Meanwhile, there have been over 10,873,936 cases reported across the American territory, with 20,688 reported in Alaska, the latest official data revealed. However, this wasn't the first time that a Republican leader has dismissed the COVID-19 pandemic altogether. Earlier in September, incumbent President Donald Trump had downplayed the risks of the disease and had said that the virus ‘affects virtually nobody’. While speaking at a rally in Ohio, Trump had implied that shutting down businesses was not necessary and had said, “We now know the disease. We didn’t know it”. Trump, on Monday, said, “Now we know it. It affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. But they have other problems, that's what it really effects, that's it,” he continued. "You know in some states, thousands of people [are infected] — nobody young," he said, which is incorrect. "Below the age of 18, like nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows”.