Speaking on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Patrick said that Americans needed to “take some risks” in reopening the economy and getting the country “back up and running,” as he stood by statements he made last month in a previous interview with Fox suggesting that he and “lots of grandparents” across the country might be willing to die to save the economy amid the outbreak.
Patrick said he that he was “vindicated” for his comments in March but stood by his statement, saying, “I’m sorry to say I was right on this, and I am thankful we are now beginning to open up Texas and other states, because it’s been long overdue.”
The governor also said that policymakers had “the wrong numbers and the wrong science” because the impact of the outbreak the official models projected fluctuated so much and were often wrong. He added that while he didn’t “blame them,” Texas needed to “face the reality” of where it is.
“In Texas, we have 29 million people and we’ve lost 495. Every life is valuable, but its 500 people out of 29 million, we’re locked down, and we’re crushing the average worker, we’re crushing small business, we’re crushing the markets, we’re crushing this country,” Patrick said.
He added: “What I said when I was with you that night is there are more important things than living, and that’s saving this country for my children and my grandchildren and saving this country for all of us.”
“I don’t want to die, nobody wants to die,” he said, “but man, we gotta take some risks and get back in the game and get this country back up and running.”
Patrick was heavily criticized for his comments in March suggesting that grandparents “don’t want the whole country sacrificed” and would rather keep the United States open for the good of the economy. “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,” the 70-year-old said at the time.
“I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me—I have six 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. And that’s what I see,” he said.
Patrick’s comments come a week after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued three new Executive Orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines. Under the orders, retail businesses will be allowed to temporarily sell products for curbside pickup beginning on April 24, while state parks were to open on April 20, adhering to strict guidelines to reduce transmission of COVID-19, including requiring visitors to wear face coverings, maintaining social distancing, and prohibiting the gathering of groups larger than five.
Restrictions on surgeries and other medical procedures were also lifted April 21, allowing for a limited amount of nonessential surgeries at hospitals, so long as those surgeries don’t deplete the hospitals’ supplies of personal protective equipment and allow the facilities to reserve at least 25 per cent of their capacity available for the treatment of patients with COVID-19. However, schools, including public, private, and higher education institutions, will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.
Abbott also named a “statewide strike force,” a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the him on how to safely and strategically reopen the state.
“We have shown that Texas can continue our efforts to contain COVID-19 while also adopting safe standards that will allow us to begin the process of reopening Texas,” Abbott said in a statement. “The Strike Force to Open Texas brings together nationally recognized medical experts with public and private sector leaders to achieve this mission. By coming together, we can get Texans back to work, practice safe standards that will prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we can overcome this pandemic.”
More than one million Texans have applied for unemployment insurance since mid-March, as efforts to stop the spread of CCP virus have led to non-essential businesses reducing employees’ hours, furloughing members of staff or laying off workers, according to The Texas Tribune.