Fury as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick falsely blames covid surge on 'African Americans who have not been vaccinated'

TEXAS Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has blamed rising hospitalization and death rates from COVID-19 on unvaccinated black people.

Patrick made the claims on a Fox News segment on Thursday night in response to a question about surging coronavirus cases in his state.

The Republican lieutenant governor said: "The biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated."

Patrick – who has been called out for his comments around the COVID-19 pandemic in the past – was quick to receive widespread criticism for his comments, with many denouncing his views as racist.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is black, said on Twitter, “The Lt. Governor’s statements are offensive and should not be ignored,”


Rodney Ellis, a black commissioner for the county that encompasses Houston, tweeted that Patrick’s comments were “racist and flat out wrong.”

On Friday, Patrick doubled down on his claims, saying “Democrat social media trolls” misstated facts and that he had used state data in his assertions.

However, various news sources pointed out that such data does not necessarily back up Patrick's claims.

Texas is currently seeing its highest hospitalization rates since January as the highly contagious delta variant spreads.

Black people — who make up about 12 percent of the more than 29 million people in Texas — accounted for about 15 percent of total COVID-19 cases and just more than 10 percent of deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

According to the Texas Tribute, there are an estimated 5.6 million white people who are eligible and unvaccinated, while the same figure is 1.9 million for Black people, who make up a far smaller part of the overall population.

The full vaccination rate among Black people in Texas is 29 percent, lower than the rates for Asian, Hispanic and white Texans.


Texas has reported race and ethnicity data for about 82 percent of people who are fully vaccinated.

Patrick also told Fox News that Democrats were to blame for low vaccination rates among Black people, who frequently support that party, even though he believes Republicans should persuade more people to get their shots, too.

He also tiptoed around that issue, which has been sensitive for the GOP.

Patrick said: “But we respect the fact that if people don’t want the vaccination, we’re not going to force it on them. That’s their individual right.”


Failures and abuses on behalf of government — including the “Tuskegee syphilis study,” in which unsuspecting Black men were used as guinea pigs in a study of a sexually transmitted disease — have led to mistrust in public institutions for many African Americans.

Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas State NAACP Conference, said those historic disparities combined with the politicization of vaccines, misinformation and access to shots is the problem.

Bledsoe said he was “shocked” by Patrick’s comments.

This is not the first time that Patrick has been criticized for comments related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an April 2020 appearance on Fox News, Patrick said the U.S. should get back to work in the face of the pandemic and that people over the age of 70, who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says are at higher risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, will “take care of ourselves.”

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