Rep. Don Young (R-AK) poked fun at the fatal COVID-19 outbreak and dismissed the notion of taking cautionary measures to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
Young made the comments during a meeting on Friday with senior citizens and members of the state’s Chamber of Commerce in Palmer, Alaska, according to the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. The comments were first reported this week.
“This ‘beer virus’ I call it – they call it a coronavirus, I call it a beer virus, how do you like that? – it attacks our senior citizens,” he said. “Now I’m one of you. I still say we have to as a nation, as a state to go forth with our everyday activities.”
Public health officials have urged citizens to practice “social distancing,” which means avoiding spaces and events with large numbers of people, as a way to contain cases of the virus.
The Republican lawmaker made the joke again as he was explaining how Congress was planning to assist small businesses that are reeling from the pandemic.
“This challenge we have, the small business community is going to have some support from Congress in the sense of loans and in the sense of loan forgiveness if they lose business with the development of this corona attack, again the ‘beer virus,'” he told the event attendees.
And in a Trumpian fashion, Young accused the media of playing up the virus.
“We can overcome this mess if we just be calm,” the congressman said. “Whether you realize it or not we are at war now, but mostly because of the presentations by the mass media.”