June 26, 2020
Patrick Claims Hospitals Exaggerating and Blames
New Wave on Testing and Youthful Irresponsibility
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said in a radio interview on Thursday night that the coronavirus resurge in Texas is a result of an increase in testing and young people ignoring the same safety protocols that he himself has refused to follow at times.
But the Republican state Senate leader sought to dramatically play down the magnitude of the new COVID-19 wave and the overwhelming effect it's having on the Texas health care system - blaming misinformation from hospital officials for perceptions about bed shortages that he characterized as overblown.
Patrick appeared to be out of the loop - however - on Governor Greg Abbott's plans to hit the back space button on the Texas reopening like he did on Friday with an executive order that shut down bars again while dialing back in-person dining at restaurants to 50 percent.
"I'm not shocked or surprised by the uptick," Patrick told Fox News talk show host Brian Kilmeade - explaining that a bump in new infections had been inevitable as Texas reopened and young people were eager to start socializing again after being apart from friends while the state was partially locked down for two months.
Patrick said that young adults account for more than half of the people who currently are hospitalized in Texas with coronavirus infections - adding that patients who've been inflicted with the disease represent 25 percent of the people who requiring intensive care.
Patrick neglected to mention - however - that he could relate to the youthful desire to congregate the old fashion way after attending a tea party event in the Houston area last weekend when dozens if not hundreds of activists abandoned social distancing and failed to wear masks despite the fact that the state's largest city had been ablaze with the coronavirus for weeks.
GOP U.S. Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Houston and Kevin Brady of The Woodlands appeared with Patrick on a panel at the conservative gathering that would have been subject to new local safety standards that the governor has officially blessed.
Patrick;s most surprising claim arguably came when he accused the Texas Medical Center - the largest and most prestigious complex of its kind in the world - of issuing inaccurate information on the coronavirus patient surge in a move that helped fuel a false panic.
As President Donald Trump's campaign chairman in Texas, Patrick is taking a cue from him with the decision to eschew masks and social distancing in a very public manner and following his lead as well with the attribution of the new outbreak to a testing boost.
But such an argument doesn't hold up in light of the fact that the cumulative virus tally has soared more than 60 percent in Texas in the past two weeks while testing has increased about 35 percent in the same span of time.
The average daily count of diagnostic tests in Texas has gone up 23 percent in the past week compared to a surge of more than 31 percent in new confirmed cases.
The increase in testing coupled with skyrocketing case counts in areas where they had been unrealistically low has effectively confirmed that the virus has been dramatically more widespread than initially believed.
Patrick suggested that he wasn't that concerned about on a surge that Abbott classified this week as a massive outbreak because the death rate hasn't been increasing in direct correlation to the new infections that are being diagnosed.