In March 2020, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick generated national attention (and criticism) by suggesting grandparents should be willing to sacrifice their lives to keep the economy going during the COVID pandemic.
Since then, 59,000 Texans have followed — involuntarily or otherwise — Patrick’s proposal and died of COVID.
Patrick’s suggestion and Gov. Greg Abbott’s refusal to allow universities, schools and local governments to require vaccines or masks exemplify the continued poor response of the Texas political leadership to the pandemic.
Patrick correctly noted that COVID predominantly killed the elderly. People older than 70 account for slightly more than half the COVID deaths in Texas. But COVID also has killed almost 30,000 younger Texans — including at least 59 children so far this school year.
When Patrick spoke in 2020, no vaccines existed. All of us were potential draftees into the army of COVID victims. The widespread availability of effective vaccines in 2021 — the result of former President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed and President Joe Biden’s distribution outreach — drastically reduced the spread of COVID until the delta variant.
Now COVID’s army of victims are mainly volunteers: the unvaccinated. The current surge of cases overwhelmingly consists of people who, for whatever reasons, have not or cannot be vaccinated. According to the Department of State Health, unvaccinated Texans comprised 99.5% of the 8,787 COVID deaths from Feb. 8 to July 14. Of the 43 (0.5%) vaccinated who died, most had a major health problem.
Vaccinations protect the vaccinated and reduces the army of potential victims. They also limit the potential for new virus variants to evolve and threaten us.
The 59 Texas schoolchildren killed by COVID might be alive if more adults had decided to become vaccinated.
Please, if you have not, support freedom from fear by getting vaccinated.