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Young arrives for a news conference outside of the Capitol in March 2019. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the oldest member of Congress, tweeted Thursday that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Why it matters: At 87 years old, Young is part of the age group at "greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19," according to the CDC.

  • Young was elected to his 25th term earlier this month, per AP.
  • He told Alaska Public Media in September that while he wears a mask, he did not require people attending his campaign events to do so. "Our nation should be responsible for one’s actions," he said at the time.

What he's saying: "I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time," Young tweeted Thursday. "May God Bless Alaska."

Flashback: Young initially downplayed the pandemic, joking in March that the coronavirus was the "beer virus," per Alaska Public Media. He later said he did not fully understand the severity of the pandemic.

The big picture: States across the U.S., including Alaska, are seeing surges in new infections.

  • Earlier on Thursday, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) told residents in a video that "like the rest of the nation, Alaska’s COVID-19 status is now in the red.”
  • Dunleavy added: “No matter what you believe about the virus, the facts are the facts: Hospitalizations and sick health care workers are reaching untenable levels. ... We must act together now, while we still have choices.”
  • Alaska recorded at least 477 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, per the state's Department of Health and Social Services. At least 100 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

Go deeper: Coronavirus cases rise by 40%

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Oxford University says its coronavirus vaccine is up to 90% effective

A scientist working during at the Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, in June. Photo: Steve Parsons/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The University of Oxford announced Monday that a COVID-19 vaccine it's developed with AstraZeneca is 70.4% effective in preventing people from developing symptoms, per interim data from Phase 3 trials.

Why it matters: The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is shown to work in different age groups and can be stored at fridge temperature. It is much cheaper than other vaccines in development and is part of the global COVAX initiative, designed to ensure doses go where they're most needed.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to continue quarantine after receiving negative COVID test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Sunday that a previously inconclusive coronavirus test came back negative, but she will continue to follow CDC guidelines and self-isolate until she's able to get a more conclusive negative result.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.

Operation Warp Speed leader: COVID vaccine push is "isolated from a political environment"

Moncef Slaoui in the Rose Garden on Nov. 13. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the Trump administration's efforts to accelerate the development of a coronavirus vaccine is "isolated from a political environment" and that a change in administration "doesn't, frankly, make a difference" on its efficacy.

Why it matters: Slaoui told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he has not yet had contact with Joe Biden's transition team, as the president-elect prepares to inherit one of the country's biggest crises ahead of an expected vaccine distribution effort that would require massive logistical cooperation between states and the federal government.