July 1, 2020
Dan Patrick Takes Credit for Texas Virus Calls
with Fauci Trashing and Claims Out of Context
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick portrayed the nation's foremost coronavirus expert as grossly incompetent on Thursday night when he falsely claimed that he and Governor Greg Abbott have been making the major decisions in the Texas response to the coronavirus.
The Republican statewide official dished out a string of misleading statistics in a Fox News interview when he played down the death rate from COVID-19 infections in Texas and accused the media of distorting the severity of the crisis in the Lone Star State that's erupted into the new U.S. epicenter based on the factual data.
Patrick blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci for implying that Texas and other states had reopened prematurely. The lieutenant governor suggested that Texas hadn't made any mistakes in the management of the pandemic at the same time he agreed with Abbott's decision to shut down the bars here for the second time in three months in an obvious admission that they'd been allowed to reopen too early.
Patrick fired off a series of berating insults at Fauci - the nation's most accomplished epidemiologist who's been the leading authority on President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force.
"He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Patrick declared amid the assertion that he didn't need the benefit of Fauci's knowledge and expertise as the most accomplished epidemiologist in the United States if not the world.
Fauci "has been wrong every time on every issue," Patrick contended. "I don't need his advice any more. We'll listen to a lot of science. We'll listen to a lot of doctors. And Governor Abbott, myself and other state leaders will make the decisions. No thank you, Dr. Fauci."
The truth is that Abbott and local leaders who are mostly Democrats in the largest Texas cities have been calling all the shots during the contagion. The governor set the stage for the new wave when he overturned local mask orders and began reopening the state in May based on incorrect claims about the virus being contained here with emergency testing missions at rural hot spots.
Ingraham didn't appear to realize that Patrick and all of the Legislature's other members have been completely out of the loop in the decision-making process in a state where the virus been on a record-setting binge here and pushing the health care system to the brink of a meltdown despite the lieutenant governor's claims to the contrary.
Patrick has been relegated to the background beyond frequent appearances on Fox News that he used as a platform to declare that senior citizens like himself would be willing to die to revive the economy. Patrick proclaimed in a Fox News interview several weeks after the shocking sacrificial altar statement that he'd been vindicated when it appeared that the curve had been flattened here in a development that proved to a mirage.
Patrick - a tea party hero who's the state Senate president - sought to make a case against government restrictions last night by contrasting the death rates in Texas to higher fatality counts in New York and California.
"The reality is a lot of different," Patrick told Ingraham, who chuckled after noting that the virus had killed more than 32,000 people in New York. Ingraham quickly clarified that she'd been laughing about the likening of Texas to New York in terms of pandemic experiences. Patrick also said that California had a fatality rate that's three times higher than the death toll in Texas where 40 percent as many people with COVID-19 infections have died.
Patrick came close to being accurate when he pointed out that the virus had only claimed 57 lives in the past three days in Texas where the death count in that time frame is actually 58 according to the Department of State Health Services. The lieutenant governor neglected to mention, however, that 117 people had died here with coronavirus infections in the three previous days.
Patrick also failed to mention that the per capita rates of new coronavirus cases have been almost identical in Texas and California even though the west coast state had been dramatically more vulnerable at the outset of the initial outbreak with almost 11 million more residents and a population that's much more dense.
The lieutenant governor said nothing about the goals that Texas had failed to achieve after Abbott had justified the pace of the reopening on them. Abbott vowed that testing in Texas would increase substantially while stressing that the state needed to have a COVID-19 testing positivity rate that remained below 5 percent for a safe and successful reopening.
But Texas had recorded a testing positivity rate of less than 5 percent for only three days before Abbott moved the state into the reopening's second phase in mid-May. The rate of positive tests had jumped to almost 7 percent on June 3 when Abbott abruptly announced the shifting of Texas to Phase 3 despite a consistently mediocre testing effort and an abundance of signs of a major second outbreak in the making.
California had a testing positivity rate of 5.96 percent on Wednesday compared to an all-time Texas high today of 14.57 percent according to the nation's most prestigious virus trackers at Johns Hopkins University in Patrick's home state of Maryland.
While Patrick attempted to take credit for the direction of Texas during the pandemic, he's actually undermined Abbott's leadership in the past month by flaunting his appearance at tea party events where there's been no masks or social distancing despite pleas from the governor for a collective adherence to safety protocols.