During a major surge in coronavirus cases in Texas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blasted the nation’s top infectious disease expert for his response.
Speaking as a guest on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” Patrick said Anthony Fauci “has been wrong every time on every issue.”
“Fauci said today that he’s concerned about states like Texas that skipped over certain things,” Patrick told Laura Ingraham, a frequent critic of Fauci, on her June 30 show. “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.”
Fauci’s comments came during a Senate hearing Tuesday when he also said the daily count of new COVID-19 cases in the United States could rise to 100,000 a day if current trends persist, CNN reported.
The infectious disease expert said that when states reopen, they should follow the White House’s guidelines.
But Patrick won’t be listening to Fauci.
“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 decision — no thank you, Dr. Fauci,” he said Tuesday.
Coronavirus cases surged during June in Texas. There are 159,986 total cases in Texas, the health department reported. The state’s seven-day average infection rate has been trending upward since late May, with record-breaking numbers of new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations reported in June, according to the Star-Telegram.
Patrick said he doesn’t want Texas lumped in with California and New York — states that have recorded many more deaths while undergoing more strict lockdowns. “Locking down doesn’t work,” he said on the Fox News show.
“The worst thing we could do is lock down Texas again,” he added. “That’s not what Governor Abbott wants, that’s not what I want. That’s not what everyone wants in business or the Republican party wants.”
A June study published in the journal Nature found a combination of stay-at-home orders, business closures and a ban on large gatherings prevented 60 million Americans from getting infected with the coronavirus. Gov. Greg Abbott let Texas’ stay-at-home order expire on May 1 and started a phased reopening of the state.
But as cases continued to rise, Abbott issued an executive order last week ordering the closure of bars, while also reducing restaurant capacity, after the state had been pursuing an “aggressive reopening,” the Star-Telegram reported.
“If I could go back and redo anything, it would have probably been to slow down the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting,” Abbott said.