Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told "Axios on HBO" that there isn't yet enough information to determine whether or not the coronavirus outbreak resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab.

What he's saying: "I'm not ruling out that it could be a lab accident, and some experts have not ruled it out either," said Rubio. "Though I can't prove it and no one can because we don't have enough information to disprove it or prove it."

The backstory: Rubio expressed far less certainty than some top U.S. officials have in recent statements.

  • President Trump said on April 30 that he has a "high degree of confidence" that the outbreak originated in a lab accident in China.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on May 3 that there was "enormous evidence" that a lab accident was to blame for the epidemic.

Why it matters: U.S. allies with access to shared intelligence have said it is "highly unlikely" that a lab accident was the cause, fueling concern that the U.S. government might be pushing the theory for geopolitical reasons.

  • Based on scientific evidence, the leading theory is still that the virus originated in a bat and spread to humans via an intermediary animal.

Go deeper: U.S. statements on coronavirus origins diverge from allies

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Updated Aug 4, 2020 - Health

The states where face coverings are mandatory

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a statewide mask mandate on Tuesday for people in public, as well as teachers and students going back to school.

The big picture: 34 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, have issued some form of a mask mandate as infections surge across the country.

Aug 6, 2020 - Health

Majority of Americans say states reopened too quickly during pandemic

Photo: Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald/Getty Images

About 69% of U.S. adults said they worry that states reopened too quickly as the country continues to confront the coronavirus pandemic, according to a national survey released Thursday by Pew Research Center.

The big picture: Almost three-quarters of American adults said the economy would fare better if the government focused on reducing infections so consumers were more comfortable visiting restaurants and retailers. Roughly six in 10 respondents said the U.S.'s response to the pandemic has been less effective compared to other wealthy nations around the world.

Aug 6, 2020 - Health

HRW chief praises Apple, Google's contact tracing as privacy "gold standard"

Axios' Kim Hart and Kenneth Roth. Photo: Axios

The Bluetooth-based contact tracing system designed by Apple and Google is a current "gold standard" for prioritizing privacy when tracking the spread of the virus, Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth told Axios' Kim Hart at a virtual event Thursday.

Why it matters: Without a vaccine, promptly notifying those who have possibly been exposed to the coronavirus and encouraging self-quarantine is one of the best mitigation tools available.