Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who on March 13 told a group of seniors that fears of the “beer virus” have been overblown by the media, on Thursday delivered a very different message.
“Weeks ago I did not fully grasp the severity of this crisis, but clearly, we are in the midst of an urgent public health emergency,” Young said in a video published to YouTube and distributed by his office. As of Thursday night, 69 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed in Alaska and one Alaska resident had died of the virus while out of state, according to the state health department.
“This pandemic is dangerous and ... is especially threatening our senior citizens, of which I am one,” said Young, who is 86, and skipped the House vote on a federal coronavirus relief package the day after his remarks at a Mat-Su senior center. His spokesman, Zack Brown, did not respond to a question asking whether Young will vote for the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed by the Senate.
At the March 13 event, Young told a crowd of about 80 people, more than half of whom were seniors according to one organizer, to “go forth” with everyday activities despite posts made to his own government and campaign social media accounts urging older people to avoid groups. On Thursday, Young said, “I very strongly urge you to follow the CDC recommendations. Avoid large groups and continue to practice social distancing ... Observe a 14-day quarantine if you have traveled from out of state.”