In first statement after covid diagnosis, Young says he was hospitalized but ‘alive, feeling better’

Alaska Rep. Don Young.

U.S. Rep. Don Young, 87, says he was hospitalized over the weekend in Anchorage for “treatment and monitoring,” the first statement his office has made since announcing a positive diagnosis for covid-19 last Thursday.

“I want Alaskans to know that their Congressman is alive, feeling better, and on the road to recovery,” he said in a statement this morning. “Over the weekend, I was admitted to Providence Hospital for treatment and monitoring. … I have been discharged and continue recovering and working from home in Alaska. Very frankly, I had not felt this sick in a very long time.”

He also blasted the media, most of which had commented on the lack of information about the country’s oldest congressman after announcing his diagnosis, saying they “did not respect my privacy.” He claims that it was “irresponsible” and may discourage others from seeking out treatment.

Young made headlines for initially downplaying the virus, calling it the “beer virus” and encouraging fellow seniors to live their lives normally. He had since said he didn’t grasp the full seriousness of the pandemic but campaigned this summer while not requiring participants to follow preventative measures.

He also was photographed several times not wearing a mask, including at birthday party for political consultant Art Hackney at an indoor restaurant a week before his diagnosis.

Alaska Republican Sen. Josh Revak was also photographed at the event told Alaska Public Media that “Life is short.”

“I’m not the type of person to live in fear,” he said. “I think we should be careful. But if Don Young wants to take the risk so that he can be in fellowship with people, as opposed to isolate, that’s really up to him.”

Revak announced his positive diagnosis for covid-19 on Friday.

Young’s full statement

Washington, D.C. – Today, Alaska Congressman Don Young released the following statement:

“There has been much speculation in the media on my current condition, and I want Alaskans to know that their Congressman is alive, feeling better, and on the road to recovery. As you know, last week, I tested positive for COVID-19. Over the weekend, I was admitted to Providence Hospital for treatment and monitoring. The team at Providence did an outstanding job, and their commitment to patient care is to be commended. I have been discharged and continue recovering and working from home in Alaska. Very frankly, I had not felt this sick in a very long time, and I am grateful to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers.

Unfortunately, a lot of what you may have heard about my condition was based on speculation in the media that did not respect my privacy. This is irresponsible, and I do not want any Alaskans to be scared of seeking testing or treatment out of privacy concerns. COVID-19 is a serious virus, and its recent surge in our state has made this a critical moment. I encourage all Alaskans to continue following CDC guidelines: practice social distancing; use a mask; avoid crowds whenever possible.

The economy, in both Alaska and our entire nation, has been devastated by this virus. This is not just a public health emergency, but an economic crisis as well. Today, we received encouraging news that a second COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown to be successful. This development represents tremendous potential, but we must continue looking out for one another. Fighting the spread of this virus is crucial if we are to recover. We cannot hunker down forever, but I sincerely believe that we will be successful in fighting COVID-19, so that we can restore our economic health in the present, and secure a bright future for all Alaskans; our children and grandchildren are depending on us. Stay safe, and may God Bless Alaska and our frontline workers.”

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