AUSTIN, Texas - Lt. Governor Dan Patrick made it clear what he thought about Dr. Anthony Fauci Tuesday night while speaking with FOX News talk show host Laura Ingraham.
"I don’t need his advice anymore,” said Patrick.
He is upset with the White House infectious disease expert because of what was said during a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday morning. Dr. Fauci spoke about the spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas and three other states. He suggested the recent increase was the result of some reopening businesses too fast and skipping over checkpoints that could have slowed reopenings.
"He's concerned about states like Texas that skipped over certain things. He doesn't know what he is talking about. We haven't skipped over anything, the only thing I'm skipping over is listening to him,” said Patrick.
Texas Democrats, Wednesday morning, were quick to offer their own rebuke. "Now that's political rhetoric,” said state Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin).
The crisis, according to state Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas), was created by Republicans who she accused of not listening to the advice of doctors and public health experts.
State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) also pushed back against the Lt. Governor's comments. "The only thing I'm hearing is somebody that would rather give up the experience and wisdom of Dr. Fauci and ignore that thinking Texas is on the right track, I hate to say that, but that's absolutely wrong. And that cannot be the policy for the state of Texas,” he said.
Patrick is just the latest Republican to criticize Dr. Fauci. The doctor's initial assessments about the virus have been used against him. In January, Dr. Fauci's initial assessment of COVID-19 during a White House briefing was that it was a low risk to the American public.
“We still have a low risk to the American public, but we want to keep it at a low risk. And because there are so many unknowns here, we're going to take the action that the Secretary will describe, in a temporary way, to make sure we mitigate, as best as we possibly can, this risk," he said at the time.
In a February TV interview, Dr. Fauci was asked if Americans should change their day to day activities, like going to a mall and gym.
“Right now at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you're doing on a day-by-day basis. Right now the risk is still low, but this could change. I've said that many times, even on this program. You got to watch out, because although the risk is low now, you don't need to change anything you're doing. When you start to see community spread, this could change, and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from, spread," he said then.
In March during a White House briefing, Dr. Fauci was asked if he would recommend anyone, even healthy people, to get onboard a cruise ship. “Yeah.Yeah.Yeah. I think if you're a healthy, young person, that there is no reason, if you want to go on a cruise ship, to go on a cruise ship," he said then.
Dr. Fauci went on to say he would advise against the trip for an individual with an underlying condition, especially an elderly person.
On FOX News, Lt. Governor Patrick said doctors on the Ingraham show had a better track record. "And he has been wrong every time, on every issue, I don't need his advice anymore, we will listen to a lot of science, we'll listen to a lot of doctors, and Gov. Abbott and myself and other state leaders will make the decisions, no thank you, Dr. Fauci,” he said.
Dr. Mark Escott, Austin's interim Health Authority, was asked Wednesday about the Lt. Governor's comments. He was upset the issue continues to be political and offered this suggestion.
"We cannot afford to be political about this issue, we cannot afford to develop polar positions on this issue, we can choose other issues to be polar on, to show distinctions between democrats and republicans, it cannot be Coronavirus,” said Dr. Escott.
The Lt. Governor apparently does agree with Dr. Fauci on one thing: both are urging everyone to wear a mask in public buildings and while around groups of people. Patrick does not support a mandatory statewide mask order or a mandatory statewide stay-at-home order that Democrats today called for.
Patrick issued a statement Wednesday afternoon about the interview, saying:
“On the same day that presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden announced he would put Anthony Fauci on his team if he is elected president, Dr. Fauci took a swipe at Republican states and COVID19 — specifically charging that Texas had “skipped over” some steps in our plan to fight the pandemic. It is notable that Dr. Fauci did not criticize Andrew Cuomo’s deadly decisions in New York or California’s strategy, whose months long draconian lock down has had no impact on case numbers there. Note that the death rate in New York is 161 per hundred thousand, while Texas is 8.3 per hundred thousand. The California death rate is almost twice that of Texas.
“As I said, when it comes to public policy, I have consulted with many doctors, scientists and hospital administrators, but going forward, I will not be listening to Dr. Fauci because he makes wild statements off the cuff that are not useful. Recall, Dr. Fauci has said:
On Jan 23, Dr. Fauci told Newsmax that the coronavirus was “not a major threat.”
On Jan 24, Dr. Fauci said that he feels China is being more transparent with the world this time than it was during previous outbreaks, such as the 2003 SARS outbreak. “This time around from my perception they look like they’re being quite transparent,” he said.
On Feb 17, Dr. Fauci said the risk of coronavirus in the US is "really very minimal because there really are only 15 cases now, in addition to those who were shipped here."
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Fauci went on to say the cases "were identified, they were isolated, and the contacts were traced.” He said the soonest a vaccine for the novel coronavirus could make it through the development process and clinical trials is “at least a year to a year and a half.”
On Mar 8, Dr. Fauci said, “There's no reason to be walking around with a mask.” While masks may block some droplets, Fauci said, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences: People who wear masks tend to touch their face more often to adjust them, which can spread germs from their hands.
“Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Fauci has been all over the map in terms of estimates on both cases and fatalities ranging from no impact to 2 million deaths, back down to a 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.”
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