West has challenged Gov Greg Abbott’s Covid response and hasn’t received vaccine
A Republican challenging Gov Greg Abbott for the party’s nomination in Texas’s 2022 gubernatorial election announced his diagnosis of Covid-19 on Saturday, adding that he expected to be hospitalised with the virus.
Allen West, a retired lieutenant colonel in the army and former US congressman, previously chaired Texas’ state branch of the GOP between 2019 and 2021. He resigned earlier this year and in the days following announced a bid to unseat Mr Abbott as governor in the state where Republicans are heavily favoured to win most statewide elections.
On Saturday, he wrote in Facebook posts that he and his wife Dr Angela West had tested positive for Covid-19, with his wife testing positive first on Friday. The second post indicated that Mr West, who is unvaccinated, was set to be admitted to the hospital due to concern about his oxygen levels.
Dr West, who is vaccinated, was apparently not facing as severe a case and was not hospitalised; a Facebook post on Sunday indicated she was released by the hospital after receiving some initial treatment.
The far-right candidate reiterated his opposition to vaccine mandates such as the plan announced by President Joe Biden, in a Facebook post on Sunday, which noted that he was recovering well after receiving a monoclonal antibody treatment.
“I can attest that, after this experience, I am even more dedicated to fighting against vaccine mandates. Instead of enriching the pockets of Big Pharma and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians, we should be advocating the monoclonal antibody infusion therapy,” he argued.
While Mr West recovered from the disease, his case nevertheless illustrated the effectiveness of the vaccines he would go on in the post to falsely refer to as a “dangerous shot”; his wife, who received the vaccine he decried as “dangerous”, faced a less dangerous case of Covid-19 than did Mr West, and did not require an extended stay in the hospital. Medical centers around the country have warned that the high influx of unvaccinated Covid-19 patients are causing them to have fewer resources available for other patients, even as many with the virus are still dying or leaving the hospital with severe long-term side effects.
The former Florida congressman, long known for sharing conspiracies about former President Barack Obama, Democrats in Congress as well as the 2020 presidential election, is one of a handful of Republicans set to challenge Mr Abbott in the GOP primary next year.
Mr Abbott is not restricted by term limits in Texas, and heads into the primary with tens of millions of dollars in a massive campaign fund that will likely give him a significant advantage over Mr West and other Republicans with less statewide name recognition.
Texas has recently become a national battleground over the issue of abortion after the state passed a restrictive ban on the practice after six weeks into the pregnancy, virtually eliminating the procedure as an option for many who are pregnant.