Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick says he, other seniors are ready to die to revive coronavirus-hit US economy
'Let's be smart about it and those of us who are 70+, we'll take care of ourselves. But don't sacrifice the country'
Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick has claimed that he is "not living in fear" of the novel coronavirus pandemic and suggested he and other older people like him would be willing to risk their health and lives so that the US could "get back to work.
Speaking to Fox News' Tucker Carlson, Patrick said, "No one reached out to me and said, 'As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?'" "And if that is the exchange, I'm all in," he added.
Patrick, who turns 70 next week, will be amongst those who fall in the highest-risk category of people most affected by the novel coronavirus, with the CDC reporting that 8 in 10 deaths due to the virus in the country are of those who are 65 and older.
The crisis in the US is continuing to worsen, with more than 46,000 cases confirmed across the nation and state officials reporting more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day for the first time since the outbreak.
However, Patrick said people like him have to weigh the hazards to their personal health that the virus poses with the challenges to the health of the American economy because of social distancing guidelines in place across the country.
He suggested that he was "all in" in lifting these guidelines, which would be in direct contradiction with recommendations put forth by both, government agencies and public health experts.
"My message is that let's get back to work, let's get back to living," he told Carlson. "Let's be smart about it and those of us who are 70+, we'll take care of ourselves. But don't sacrifice the country."
His comments would come as little surprise to those who have been following President Donald Trump's press conferences about the pandemic. Trump has repeatedly tried to downplay the seriousness of the outbreak and had recently said life would return to normal sooner rather than later.
"The hardship will end, it will end soon. Normal life will return," Trump said on March 23, adding that officials would decide how to reopen the country after 15 days of the implementation of the social distancing protocols. "It's a much shorter period of time than I've been hearing the news report."
He also seemed to suggest easing the guidelines that had seen businesses shuttered across the nation and the workforce forced to ply their trade from home. "Our country wasn't built to be shut down," Trump insisted. "This is not a country that was built for this. It was not built to be shut down."
In response to Trump's comments, Patrick said he talks to business people "all the time" and that his "heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the President say because we can do more than one thing at a time."
The CDC, on the other hand, has recommended that the government not allow gatherings of 50 or more people for eight weeks and advised people above the age of 65 to stay at home during the pandemic.