Rep. Louie Gohmert is a COVID-19 denier. He believes COVID-19 exists, mind you, but has refused to wear a mask on the House floor, has been contemptuous of the dangers of the virus, and has been, as usual, eagerly embracing crackpot theories about how to cure it. (What if we, like, douse everything in a fine hydroxychloroquine mist?)
Gohmert wasn't wearing a mask for most of the day yesterday, when he huddled with other House Republicans to discuss how best to defend Trump Attorney General William Barr during Barr's House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday. He wasn't wearing one when he spoke to Barr outside the hearing room from just a few feet away. Gohmert has now tested positive for COVID-19.
Politico reports Gohmert tested positive during a pre-screening at the White House in preparation for flying with Donald Trump to Gohmert's home state of Texas this morning.
Gohmert has insisted that he did not need to wear a mask, and only would if he himself contracted the virus. He has also, as usual, been eager to call Democratic measures to contain the virus "Marxism," possibly out of genuine ignorance as to what either Marxism or infectious disease safety measures entail.
COVID-19 is a potentially deadly disease, can have serious long-term consequences, and even in non-deadly cases can take an extended length of time to recover from. Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hospitalized and on oxygen for nearly a month after contracting the virus shortly after attending Donald Trump's "reopening" campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
There is no indication that Gohmert is symptomatic, or where Gohmert first contracted the virus, or when Gohmert was last tested before this morning. He has had maskless contact with numerous other House Republicans, Republican staff, William Barr, and others on Capitol Hill as recently as yesterday afternoon—at one point during the Barr hearing, committee chair Jerry Nadler had to chastise multiple committee Republicans for violating committee rules when they removed their masks, though Gohmert was not among those he singled out. We can expect, then, that he has spread the virus to some significant extent.