PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — One day after sparking a backlash by suggesting Rhode Islanders ages 60 and older might face special coronavirus-related restrictions on their activities as the economy reopens, Gov. Gina Raimondo quickly walked back her comments Thursday.
“I’m sorry if I created confusion,” Raimondo said during her daily news briefing.
The governor said she had received a “strong reaction” to the remarks — including from her older brother, a doctor at Kent Hospital, who she said reminded her he hasn’t taken a day off in six weeks.
“We don’t have any particular regulations,” she said. “In no way ever will we do anything to be discriminatory or reduce your chances of keeping a job or getting a job. It was just a way to say we want everybody to be safe. So take a minute to pause and think ahead and realize, you know, we’re going to be adapting to this virus for at least a year.”
Experts say older people and individuals with underlying medical conditions face the gravest risk from coronavirus. The R.I. Health Department says a majority of those who’ve died or been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 have been at least 60 years old.