Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) on Wednesday released a video statement about his coronavirus diagnosis, suggesting without evidence that wearing a mask may have contributed to testing positive.

The big picture: The congressman, who has largely been resistant to wearing a mask around Capitol Hill, said that he "can't help but wonder" if adjusting his mask "put some germs in" it. While the CDC has said it is possible that coronavirus can be transmitted after touching an infected surface, it "is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

  • In fact, virologists have said that "direct contact with people has the highest likelihood of getting infected" — especially those who are asymptomatic, like Gohmert.

The state of play: Gohmert went back to his office at the Rayburn House Office Building to inform his staff in person that he had been infected, per Politico.

  • His office practices were also sharply criticized by an unnamed aide in an email to Politico's Jake Sherman, who first broke the story about his diagnosis.
  • "When you write your story, can you include the fact that Louie requires full staff to be in the office, including three interns, so that 'we could be an example to America on how to open up safely.' When probing the office, you might want to ask how often were people berated for wearing masks," the aide said.

Go deeper

Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandate: "Be a patriot"

Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.
22 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak is slowing down after a summer of explosive growth.

By the numbers: The U.S. is averaging roughly 52,000 new cases per day — still a lot of cases, but about 10.5% fewer than it was averaging last week.