‘No thank you, Dr. Fauci’: Texas lieutenant governor says he won’t listen to nation’s top coronavirus expert

Texas

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talks about a deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border at a news conference at the Capitol, Friday June 21, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In an appearance Tuesday on Fox News, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told host Laura Ingraham during a discussion about Dr. Anthony Fauci, “I don’t need his advice anymore.”

“Fauci said today that he’s concerned about states like Texas that skipped over certain things,” Patrick said in a clip from the June 30 show. “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We haven’t skipped over anything. The only thing I’m skipping over is listening to him.”

Patrick claimed Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, “has been wrong every time on every issue,” but did not elaborate.

Fauci spoke Tuesday during a Senate hearing, saying more than 50% of new infections in Texas, Florida, California and Arizona are in areas where there are surges.

“We’ve got to make sure that when states start to try and open again, they need to follow the guidelines that have been very carefully laid out with regard to checkpoints,” Fauci said. “What we’ve seen in several states are different iterations of that, perhaps maybe in some, going too quickly and skipping over some of the checkpoints.”

Fauci was referring to the White House’s guidelines for reopening, in which states are recommended to satisfy criteria related to cases, symptoms and hospitals before proceeding to reopening.

Texas paused and then rolled back its reopening on Friday, as Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order that closed bars and limited restaurants to 50% capacity. On that same day, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, included Austin as one of the most “concerning” metro areas in the country during a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting.

Texas has seen a surge of cases in the past week. As of Tuesday, KXAN’s count — which compiles data from individual counties in the state — shows 167,642 total cases and 2,495 deaths. There were 6,975 new cases reported Tuesday.

Patrick told Ingraham: “We’ll listen to a lot of science, we’ll listen to a lot of doctors and Gov. Abbott, myself and other state leaders will make the decision — no thank you, Dr. Fauci.”

Earlier this week, Abbott spoke to KXAN and echoed the state’s reliance on data to inform its actions moving forward, saying his order to shut down bars was a result of “so many people” testing positive who were “contracting it in bar-type settings.”

Patrick said he thought stepping back on bars was “the right decision” and that the state needs “help from young people to bring the cases down.”

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