Oldest Member of Congress Says He Has COVID-19

Don Young, just elected to his 25th term, says he's 'feeling strong'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 12, 2020 6:35 PM CST
Don Young, Oldest Member of Congress, Has COVID-19
Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, gathers with supporters in Anchorage on Election Day.   (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)

Rep. Don Young—the oldest member of either chamber of Congress—has announced that he tested positive for COVID-19. The Republican, 87, revealed the test results Thursday, a day after winning his 25th term in the US House. "I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska and ask for privacy at this time," Young tweeted. "May God Bless Alaska." Having arrived in 1973, Young has been in the House longer than anyone currently in office. That makes him "Dean of the House," CNN reports, whose sole duty is swearing in the speaker. He's also Alaska's only representative in the chamber.

Speaking to a group of senior citizens last March, Young played down the virus, saying it was overblown and fueled by the media. He called the coronavirus the "beer virus," per the AP. Young no longer made fun of the pandemic after the virus got to Alaska, per the Washington Post, but he didn't require masks at his campaign events. "I still say we have to as a nation and state go forth with everyday activities," he said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns, "The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older."

(More Don Young stories.)

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