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Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blames Covid surge on 'African Americans who have not been vaccinated'

Patrick, who previously blamed the spike on undocumented immigrants crossing the border, denied that state policies contributed to the surge.
Image: Dan Patrick
Dan Patrick speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on July 9, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.Brandon Bell / Getty Images file

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said unvaccinated African Americans — not lax coronavirus precautions in states like his — are responsible for the surge in Covid-19 cases in his state.

"The Covid is spreading, particularly most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated, and the Democrats like to blame Republicans on that," Patrick told Fox News host Laura Ingraham in an interview Thursday night. "Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated. Last time I checked, over 90 percent 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."

Ingraham had asked Patrick, who has previously blamed undocumented immigrants for the rise in cases, 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.

African Americans, who have had lower rates of vaccinations, make up about 13 percent of the state population and about 16 percent of cases, while whites and Hispanics, who make up more than 80 percent of the population, have accounted for about 70 percent of cases, according to statistics from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

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. The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday declined to back the governor's mask mandate ban.

The state has averaged 80 deaths a day over the last seven days, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — its highest seven-day average of Covid deaths since mid-March. Abbott requested five mortuary trailers from the federal government this week in anticipation of an influx of bodies.

Patrick told Ingraham that Democrats are "doing nothing for the African American community," while Republicans are "encouraging people" who want the vaccine to take it. But he added, "we respect the fact if they don't want the vaccination, we're not going to force it on them. That's their individual right."