The lieutenant governor of Texas, a Republican who has attempted to politicize the pandemic along racial, age and party lines, tested positive for COVID-19 last week, according to reports.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has been isolating himself and has since tested negative after experiencing mild symptoms, his senior adviser Allen Blakemore said in a statement on Monday. He was being treated with Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies, which the FDA granted emergency authorization because of the pandemic.
It was unclear when exactly Patrick tested positive for COVID-19. However, critics are likely to wonder not only why Patrick wasn’t more forthcoming immediately following finding out his diagnosis, but also whether he knew how he was infected by the virus.
That last part was an indirect reference to that time when Patrick pinned the blame solely on unvaccinated Black people for spreading COVID-19, a widely debunked false claim that was the byproduct of the lieutenant governor stereotyping all African Americans as Democratic voters, the staunch conservative’s antithesis.
Patrick made the ill-advised comments decried as “racist” during an interview with Fox News Channel’s Laura Ingraham last summer.
“The biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated,” Patrick declared in a blanket statement during the cable news TV show. “The last time I checked over 90% of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties, so it’s up to the Democrats – just as it’s up to the Republicans – to try to get as many people vaccinated.”
Aside from being flagrantly racist, Patrick’s comments about unvaccinated Black people are just plain wrong. FactCheck.org cited Kaiser Health Foundation, a nonprofit, bipartisan health news organization, when reporting days after Patrick’s comments that “far more white people remain unvaccinated against the disease” than Blacks.
Of course, to anyone paying attention, the recent surge of the coronavirus has shown that the new Omicron variant is far from racially selective for its hosts and has been infecting people at a record rate around the globe regardless of vaccination status. That now includes Patrick, who also suggested that elderly people would happily “sacrifice” their own lives to help jumpstart the economy, another flawed and misguided premise about the virus.
Regeneron’s CEO said in November that its antibodies will protect people from COVID-19 for months, However, the New York Times reported that Regeneron also said in December that “it will be months” before the biotech company’s monoclonal antibodies will be ready for use against the Omicron variant.
It is unclear whether Patrick was infected with the Omicron variant. But it is abundantly clear that people believe karma played an active role in the lieutenant governor’s health status.