By Paul Blest
The elderly are perfectly happy to sacrifice themselves so everyone can go back to work in order to minimize the damage to the economy — or at least that’s what one 69-year-old Texas official thinks.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show last night after sending the Fox News host a text claiming he was perfectly happy to make the trade of the elderly’s lives to stop a potential economic collapse, although experts say that’s an impossible one to make.
“I don’t pretend to be speaking for everyone 70-plus,” Patrick’s text read. “But I think there are lots of grandparents out there who would agree with me that I want my grandchildren to live in the America I did.”
His proposed remedy, the text continued, is to “give this a few more days or weeks, but after that, let’s go back to work and go back to living. Those who want to shelter in place can still do so, but we can’t live with uncertainty.”
Patrick’s purported willingness to die for the economy echoes rhetoric that’s come out of the Trump administration and Republican circles over the past few days.
“WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday. On Monday morning, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow agreed, saying, “We’re gonna have to make some difficult tradeoffs.”
Appearing on Carlson’s show, Patrick reiterated his belief that people should get back to work sooner rather than later. “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?’” Patrick said. “And if that is the exchange, I’m all in.”
“[Grandparents] all wanna live, we wanna live with our grandchildren for as long as we can,” Patrick added later. “But the point is, our biggest gift we give to our country and our children and our grandchildren is the legacy of our country."
There’s little evidence that exacerbating the public health crisis in the short term in order to get the economy on the rebound more quickly would work. For starters, while the elderly are more susceptible to hospitalization if they contract the coronavirus, young people aren’t as resistant to the disease as Patrick appears to think; 20% of infected COVID-19 patients ages 20-44 have been hospitalized, according to a CDC analysis of U.S. cases which spanned over a month.
Furthermore, going “back to living” would allow the virus to proliferate among the population and result in more deaths, which in turn would batter the workforce as sick workers are forced to take off. And that’s not to mention the impact on the country’s already stretched-thin healthcare system, and the effect that’ll have on healthcare workers and people who are sick for other reasons.
"If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks in other areas, it's at least going to be several weeks [of social distancing]," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC News on Friday. "I cannot see that all of a sudden, next week or two weeks from now, it's going to be over. I don't think there's a chance of that. I think it's going to be several weeks."
Even with the measures taken so far, New York health officials believe that the state — which is currently the U.S. epicenter of the global pandemic — is still at least three to five weeks away from hitting a peak number of cases.
Monday was the deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic so far in the United States, with more than 100 deaths reported in one day for the first time. New York state saw nearly 5,000 new cases in one day, and a World Health Organization official said Tuesday that officials were saying a “very large acceleration” in U.S. coronavirus cases.