Alaska Rep. Don Young, 87, says he’s diagnosed with COVID-19

Incumbent Rep. Don Young addressing moderator Lori Townsend during a debate with Congressional candidate Alyse Galvin for Alaska’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, on Oct. 22 at Debate for the State. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

U.S. Rep. Don Young, 87, has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced in a tweet Thursday.

Young, a Republican, was first elected in 1973 and is now the Dean of the House, meaning he’s the longest-serving member of Congress. He’s also the chamber’s oldest member.

The Associated Press declared Wednesday that Young had won re-election over Democratic Party-endorsed independent Alyse Galvin. He was photographed at one of his fundraisers not wearing a mask and said he did not require them at his political events.

At 87, Young is more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19, according to the CDC, which says the risk rises with age and is highest among those 85 and older.

Young made headlines early in the pandemic when he jokingly referred to COVID-19, a type of coronavirus, as the “beer virus.” He later said he didn’t fully grasp the severity of the virus and the associated public health crisis.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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