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Dan Patrick says he is willing to risk his own life to allow economy to resume

Chron logo Chron 3/24/2020 Jasper Scherer

After President Trump signaled his intent Monday to soon lift restrictions on public activity in the U.S., Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick said on Fox News he agrees with the president and would be willing to risk his own life to return to normal conditions.

“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,” Patrick said on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show.

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Patrick continued: “I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me — I have 6 grandchildren — that, what we all care about, and what we love more than anything are those children. And I want to live smart and see through this but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed.”

Patrick, 69, is a Republican and avid supporter of Trump. He had a stent inserted in his chest last August to open an artery that was 90 percent blocked.

Adults who are 65 and older face a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A report by the agency, however, found that young adults also make up a big chunk of U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations.

Public health officials across the country have warned that hospitals are at risk of being overrun without mandatory orders limiting public interactions. On Monday, the chief executive officers of the Texas Medical Center in Houston unanimously called for a shelter-in-place order in Harris County.

During the Fox News appearance, Patrick said the U.S. is experiencing an "economic collapse," and many people have told him that "we can't lose our whole country" over the disease.

"My heart is lifted tonight by what I heard the president say, because we can do more than one thing at a time. We can do two things," Patrick said. "So, my message is that, let's get back to work. Let's get back to living, let's be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we'll take care of ourselves. But don't sacrifice the country."

Near the end of the interview, Carlson queried, “so you’re basically saying that this disease could take your life, but that’s not the scariest thing to you — there’s something that would be worse than dying.”

Patrick responded: “Yeah, and look, I’m going to do everything I can to live. But if you said, ‘Are you willing to take a chance’ — you know and if I get sick, I’ll go and try to get better. But if I don’t, I don’t.”

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