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Gohmert blames mask for positive COVID-19 test

Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertPence to give keynote address at National Conservative Student Conference Gaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program 136 Republicans get Fs in accountability rankings from anti-Trump GOP group MORE (R-Texas) is questioning whether his positive coronavirus test could have been linked to his face mask.

Gohmert, one of several House Republicans who have been notable in not wearing masks at the Capitol, told KETK-TV, a Fox News affiliate, that he'd been wearing a mask more frequently. 

“It's really ironic, because, you know, a lot of people have made a big deal out of me not wearing a mask a lot, but in the last week or two. I have worn a mask, more than I have in the whole last four months," he said.

He then questioned whether that could have led to his positive test.

“But I can't help but wonder if my keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, that if I might have put some germs or some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in — I don't know. But I got it, we'll see what happens from here, but the reports of my demise are very premature," he said.

Public health experts have repeatedly called on the public to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and masks are commonly worn by lawmakers, staff, reporters and other workers on Capitol Hill.

Gohmert was notable for often not wearing a mask, including inside and outside a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday where Attorney General William BarrBill BarrDemocrats, activists blast Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE testified. The Justice Department said Barr would be tested for the coronavirus on Wednesday. 

The Texas Republican was informed he tested positive for COVID-19 after being tested at the White House ahead of plans to travel with President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE to Texas on Wednesday. 

Gohmert insisted he had been wearing a mask during Tuesday's hearing.

"And, you know, fake news media appear to have tweeted out that Nadler admonished me yesterday at the Judiciary hearing for not wearing a mask, but he didn't admonish me. I was wearing my mask. There were a couple of other Republicans that were not wearing a mask at the time,” he said, referring to Judiciary's chairman, Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to consider anti-Asian hate crimes bill, protections for pregnant workers this month A historic moment to truly honor mothers Britney Spears to discuss conservatorship in court MORE (D-N.Y.).  

Gohmert said he was advised to self-quarantine for 10 days following the diagnosis, but noted he was told that false-positive results have happened with rapid testing in the past. 

"The president invited me to go with him to West Texas, even though I'm an East Texas guy, and before you go anywhere with president or have a meeting with the president we always are tested, and they have a real quick test and the quick test was positive, and they said sometimes we get false positives,” he said.  

“And so they did the one where they stick the swab way back up in your sinuses. And anyway that one came back, it takes a little longer to get the answer, but it was positive. So, I didn't have any of the symptoms that you see listed for the coronavirus. But anyway, now I need to self-quarantine," he added.

Gohmert had been spotted for months without a mask around the Capitol, but he asserted that he plans to wear one for at least the next 10 days. 

“Obviously I'm not wearing the mask right now talking to you but you're not at risk of getting it through the internet,” he said in the interview. 

“But, but no, I will be religiously wearing a mask as I leave the building. I will not be around anybody for the next 10 days without making sure that I have a mask, because that's the real danger once you have it, giving it to somebody else, and that's when a mask is most important," Gohmert said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines call for individuals to wear masks to prevent spreading the deadly virus. 

And U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said earlier this month that the country “can turn this thing around in two to three weeks if we can get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings, practicing at least six feet of social distancing, doing the things that we know are effective.”