GOP Texas Lieutenant Governor Says We Need to Take Risk to Get Back to Work: 'There Are More Important Things Than Living'

The lieutenant governor of Texas, who was criticized last month for saying it was worth risking lives to return to work if that meant saving the economy, has doubled down on his comments.

Dan Patrick, who turned 70 this month, faced a social media backlash in March for telling Fox News that many of his generation were willing to "take a chance" and return to work because an economy that was shut down by the coronavirus would harm future generations.

As parts of Texas started to reopen this week following weeks of restrictions, Patrick defended his comments on Monday, telling anchor Tucker Carlson again that the recent economic hardship had left him "vindicated."

"When you start shutting down society and people start losing their paychecks and businesses can't open and governments aren't getting revenues...I'm sorry to say that I was right on this," he said.

"I'm thankful that we are now beginning to open up Texas and other states because it's been long overdue."

Questioning the shifting projected death toll over the last few weeks he believed that "we have the wrong numbers, the wrong science."

Comparing the death toll in Texas with its population, he went on to say, "every life is valuable but 500 people out of 29 million and 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."

Using data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Tribune reported that as of Monday, the death toll in the state stood at 495, with 19,458 positive tests.

Patrick went on: "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 but man we have got to take some risk and get back in the game and get this country back up and running," he told the Tucker Carlson Tonight host.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced a gradual reopening of the state, although all schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year. State parks will reopen although there will be restrictions on group sizes and face coverings will be required.

Abbot said that starting Friday, he thought retail stores should be able to offer retail services where people would be able to pick up products with minimal contact with others.

While health officials warn that states should not reopen businesses too quickly for fear of a spike in COVID-19 cases, some governors across the country are starting to announce timelines to ease restrictions.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced guidelines that would allow "governors to take a phased and deliberate approach to reopening their individual states."

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is pictured in Santa Fe in May 2018. He has repeated that he has concerns about the coronavirus shutdown and its impact on the economy, telling Fox News: "There are more important things than living." BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.