In a blatant display of racism and hypocrisy, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently told Fox News that the recent spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations within his state was due to Black people not getting vaccinated against the virus. The accusation follows a familiar theme for Patrick, who claimed earlier this year that undocumented immigrants within the state were responsible for the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Dareh Gregorian of NBC News reported that Patrick stated that “unvaccinated African Americans — not lax coronavirus precautions in states like his — are responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases in his state.”
In an interview with Fox host Laura Ingraham, Patrick said, “COVID-19 is spreading, particularly most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated, and the Democrats like to blame Republicans on that. Well, the biggest [unvaccinated] group in most states are African Americans. … Last time I checked, over 90% of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties, so it’s up to the Democrats to get … as many people vaccinated.”
When Ingraham asked Patrick to “respond to charges that his and Gov. Greg Abbott’s policies are to blame for the spike that has over 12,000 Texans hospitalized,” he tried to deflect by accusing Democrats of “doing nothing for the African American community.” According to Gregorian, Patrick also claimed Republicans are “encouraging people” to get vaccinated — but only if they want it.
“We respect the fact [that] if they don’t want the vaccination, we’re not going to force it on them. That’s their individual right,” Patrick said.
Sadly, for Lt. Gov. Patrick, the numbers aren’t on his side. Based on data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, Black people comprise just over 13% of the Texas population and make up about 16% of COVID-19 cases in the state. In contrast, whites and Hispanics make up more than 80% of the population while comprising nearly 70% of COVID-19 cases in Texas.
“Abbott, who tested positive for the virus earlier this week despite being vaccinated, issued an executive order late last month banning vaccination and mask mandates as case numbers rose in the state despite pushback from local officials and school districts,” Gregorian reported.
So far, the Texas Supreme Court has declined to support Abbott’s mask-mandate ban.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas currently averages 80 deaths a day from COVID-19. The last time numbers were that high within the state was mid-March. Gov. Abbott has asked for at least five mortuary trailers to be sent into Texas to help deal with the rising number of dead bodies that need to be stored and processed.
Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.