Rep. Louie Gohmert said after testing positive for the coronavirus this week that he believes wearing a face mask could be the reason he contracted the virus.
“I can’t help but wonder, if by keeping a mask on and keeping it In place, that if I might have put some germs, some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it In,” Gohmert said In an interview following his positive coronavirus test, adding that “reports of my demise are very premature.”
The Texas Republican was set to travel to Texas with President Trump before the news broke that he tested positive for the coronavirus, and his critics were quick to point out that he has been one of the more lax members of Congress when it comes to face coverings.
Gohmert told CNN In June that he didn’t feel the need to wear a mask because he is the tested often but promised that, if he does test positive at some point, he will wear a mask.
“If I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask,” Gohmert said. “I keep being tested, and I don’t have it. So, I’m not afraid of you, but if I get it, I’ll wear a mask.”
Many government agencies and health professionals across the world have voiced support for face coverings as a tool to slow the spread of the coronavirus while places such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and some U.S. states reject that there is the proven effectiveness, citing studies that suggest face coverings aren’t effective, including at least one study supporting Gohmert’s argument that masks could make transmission more likely.
“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said about face masks. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus — particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Gohmert also said that he plans on taking the controversial prescription antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been praised by Trump and has shown encouraging signs of being an effective treatment for COVID-19 patients but has been criticized by others and was recently banned In Ohio.