Dan Patrick, Texas’ Republican lieutenant governor, on Monday night suggested that he and other grandparents would be willing to risk their health and even lives in order for the United States to “get back to work” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Those of us who are 70 plus, we’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country,” Patrick said on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
His comments followed President Donald Trump’s statements about the country returning to business in weeks rather than months.
Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
Patrick, who said he will turn 70 next week, said that he did not fear COVID-19, but feared that stay-at-home orders and economic upheaval would destroy the American way of life.
“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 America loves for its children and grandchildren?' And if that is the exchange, I'm all in,” Patrick said.
Download the NBC News app for full coverage and alerts about the coronavirus outbreak
Millions of people across the country have been ordered to stay at home except to conduct essential business. Health experts have said limiting social interaction is the best way to slow the spread of infection and reduce the chance of overwhelming medical professionals and facilities.
Some cities and counties in Texas have such orders, but there is no statewide shelter-in-place policy.
Texas has more than 800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least five deaths related to the virus.