Texas Lt. Gov Dan Patrick recently said that the rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and death rate are coming from the African Americans who have not been vaccinated. The Republican’s claim is far from reality and has been criticized as “racist.”
Speaking on Fox News on Thursday night, Patrick said that Black people are “the biggest group in most states” who are still not vaccinated. However, as per data, in Texas, there are vastly more white and Hispanic people who are unvaccinated than Black people.
The data has been given by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has put together vaccination statistics by race/ethnicity, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
About 4 million more white residents are unvaccinated than Black residents in Texas, and also about 4 million more Hispanic residents are unvaccinated than Black residents.
Patrick’s comments on Laura Ingraham’s show have led to widespread criticism as having racist undertones. He made the remarks when he was asked to respond to criticism over the spread of COVID-19 in Texas.
The state’s Governor Greg Abbott, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week even after being fully vaccinated, has been resisting public health mandates to alleviate the more contagious Delta variant spread.
“Democrats like to blame Republicans on that,” Patrick said. “Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated. The last time I checked, over 90% of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties.”
His comments prompted criticism, with many calling his claim unfounded. Responding to criticism, Patrick released a statement Friday, saying: “Democrats social media trollers were up late misstating the facts and fanning the flames of their lies.” He added that federal and state data clearly indicates that the Black vaccination rates are significantly lower than White or Hispanic rates.
While vaccination rates are low among the Black Community in Texas, the latest data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows that African American population is not the cause for the increasing cases. As of August 13, Black Texans account for 16.4% of the state’s cases and 10.2% of deaths. Data also shows that the highest coronavirus case rates are coming from whites and Hispanics. About 34.9% of cases are from white people while Hispanics account for 35.8 of the state’s cases.
Jorge Caballero, a former instructor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, now working as a health data scientist, was quoted as saying by The Washington Post that statements blaming the racial or ethnic community for the spread of disease are a “well-known racist trope that predates most of us.”
He added, “People are already getting hurt by this virus, and it makes absolutely no sense for us to add insult to injury.”
Caballero also referenced the U.S. Census Bureau that data collected from July to August shows that unvaccinated white Texans outnumber unvaccinated Black Texans about three to one in ratio. He added that there is just no room for misinterpretation with these data presented.
Earlier this month, the Texas Tribune reported that only 28% of Black Texans are vaccinated. But Hispanics and White conservatives in rural areas have also low vaccine rates.
According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of last week, with the 80, 313 active COVID-19 cases, 16.4% are Black people. In contrast, 34.9% are white people, and Hispanic people made up 35.8%. About 1.2% of these cases are from Asian Americans. Data clearly shows that African American Texans are not the cause for the surge in Covid cases.
According to The Post’s vaccination tracking, around 46% of Texans are already fully vaccinated.