Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, like President Donald Trump, is worried about COVID-19’s effects on the economy.
He told Fox News on Monday night that he would rather die from a rapid spread of the coronavirus than witness a weakening of the U.S. economy.
“No one reached out to me and said, ‘as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance for your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in,” he said. “And that doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that.”
In fact, if Patrick did contract the virus, it would be from contact with someone’s germs. And if he were close enough to people to catch the virus, he would likely also be close enough to transmit it to others, which could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and help increase its death toll.
Patrick turns 70 next week. He has six grandchildren.
People 65 and older are one of the groups more at risk of becoming severely ill from the new virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other people at high risk include people with moderate to severe asthma or other lung conditions, people with serious heart conditions, people with compromised immune systems, people who are severely obese, and people with other significant, underlying medical conditions.
“I don’t pretend to be speaking for everyone 70-plus … but I think there are a lot of grandparents who would agree with me that I want my grandchildren to live in America as I did,” Patrick texted to Fox News.
His comments echo Trump’s on social isolation.
“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. This is not a country that was built for this,” Trump said Monday.
However, health experts agree that social isolation is a crucial way to slow the spread of the coronavirus and avoid overwhelming the U.S. healthcare system. High numbers of people sick with the virus have strained health care systems in Italy and other countries, and American hospitals are preparing.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to Patrick.
“Your mother’s not expendable, and my mother’s not expendable,” he said.