COVID-19—or Novel Coronavirus—cases have skyrocketed in the United States, with over 8,000 confirmed cases and nearly 150 deaths. That number is expected to rise exponentially as more people experiencing symptoms finally gain access to tests.
With President Donald Trump's leadership leaving a lot to be desired, governors across the country have largely taken the lead, shuttering schools, restaurants, bars, and other non-essential gatherings in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus.
Others—like Republican Congressman Don Young of Alaska—are following Trump's initial approach to the virus and completely dismissing it all together, claiming that the media is overblowing the threat it poses.
The 86 year old Congressman said to a group of senior citizen constituents on Friday:
"They call it the coronavirus. I call it the beer virus. How do you like that? It attacks us senior citizens. I'm one of you. I still say we have to as a nation and state go forth with everyday activities."
Reader, do not listen to this man.
In one of his only correct statements, Young said that the virus attacks senior citizens. This is true. Senior citizens have died at a disproportionately higher rate from the virus. Younger people can test positive for the virus without experiencing symptoms, resulting in inadvertent transmissions of it to more vulnerable Americans. Even Young's own staff has largely begun working remotely. Widespread transmissions can overwhelm healthcare facilities as more cases are diagnosed and more symptoms are experienced.
That's why it's dangerous to carry on as normal in the face of a pandemic like this one.
Young himself even has reason for concern—two of his colleagues have already tested positive for the virus.
People were incensed that he'd suggest to the virus's most vulnerable demographic that everything was fine.
For obvious reasons, people wanted him voted out.
Young is a board member of the National Rifle Association, so it's not hard to imagine why he appears to have no trouble potentially endangering lives.