Dan Patrick says elderly should be willing to get sick, possibly die, to save economy

by | Mar 24, 2020 | Coronavirus, Policy

In an interview that’s hard to believe until seen, Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick said he was willing to get sick and die from coronavirus— and suggested that other elderly folks should be willing to do the same to save America’s weakened economy. 

Patrick said so during an interview with right-wing Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who invited him on Monday night to expand on his ideas after receiving a text from Patrick about his willingness to sacrifice himself to save the economy, a genuinely false choice during the ongoing pandemic.

“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’s the exchange, I’m all in,” Patrick said.

“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,” Patrick continued. “And I want to live smart and see through this but I don’t want the whole country to be sacrificed.”

“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,” Patrick concluded. “Don’t do that, don’t ruin this great American dream.”

Tucker then asks Patrick, “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?”

“Yeah,” Patrick replies. “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.”

Patrick’s comments follow similar statements made by other Republicans, chiefly President Trump among them who on Monday said, “let’s go to work. our country wasn’t built to be shut down” — suggesting it was time to prematurely end social distancing measures proven to successfully curb infection rates seen in other countries.

Why Patrick and Trump’s advice is deadly  

Things are just ramping up in the United States. The number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. is quickly trending on a trajectory that replicates Italy’s, where hundreds are dying by the day and hospitals are overwhelmed.

When you’re on an exponential curve every moment is dangerous,” Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, told USA Today in a recent interview. “This is a particularly critical moment for us to try to bring all the resources and determination of government and the American people to try to get off of it.”

On paper, Covid-19 may not be the deadliest of diseases, but symptoms among many patients of all ages, especially the elderly, are serious enough to overwhelm hospitals who are stretched thin on intensive care unit beds and ventilators. That could force U.S. physicians to make incredibly tough choices about who lives and dies, decisions already being made in Europe.

“If a patient has a low likelihood to benefit from the hospital, we have to not accept them. You send them home,” a doctor in Italy told the New York Times. “This is also what I am seeing every day.”

Photo: Loren Elliott/Getty Images

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

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