The Texas lieutenant governor’s disdain for science and experts in the fight against the rapidly worsening COVID-19 pandemic would be a joke if not for the deadly consequences. Now he’s essentially telling the nation’s top infectious disease doctor to shut up. Here’s the truth: Dan Patrick is going to get more people killed.
Speaking Tuesday on Fox News, Patrick mocked Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “I don’t need his advice anymore.” He went on:
“Fauci said today that he’s concerned about states like Texas that skipped over certain things. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We haven’t skipped over anything. The only thing I’m skipping over is listening to him.”
Earlier in the day, Fauci had told a Senate committee that he was concerned by the soaring number of Americans who are testing positive for COVID-19. At least 125,000 Americans have already died from the disease, and Fauci warned that “more than 50% of new infections in Texas, Florida, California and Arizona are in areas where there are surges.” Fauci urged:
“We’ve got to make sure that when states start to try and open again, they need to follow the guidelines that have been very carefully laid out, with regard to checkpoints. What we’ve seen in several states are different iterations of that, perhaps maybe in some, going too quickly and skipping over some of the checkpoints.”
Remember that in March, Patrick insisted that we sacrifice senior citizens to COVID-19 rather than enforce social distancing measures and close nonessential businesses to stem the spread of the disease. Feeling the political pressure from Patrick and the rest of the far-right fringe, Gov. Greg Abbott began lifting his public health orders, rushed to reopen the economy, and barred local leaders from taking further action to fight COVID-19 in their own communities. Now Texas is one of the worst COVID-19 hotspots in the nation, and Abbott says he regrets moving so quickly.
Will Dan Patrick someday say he regrets rejecting science and experts while the death toll was rising in Texas? Don’t make us laugh. Texans needed wise, steady leadership in this crisis. We got divisive politics, arrogant grandstanding and willful ignorance instead. In short, we got Dan Patrick. So more Texans are dying.
Remember that when you vote.