BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - "Wear a dang mask."
That was the widely-circulated plea from Sen. Joel Carter of Gulfport after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 over the summer.
Carter is now recovered from the virus and doubling down on that message.
“It literally felt like I was being pressed between two cars and being crushed,” he told WLOX. “That’s how bad the body pain was. I couldn’t sleep. I just laid in bed at night moaning. It was bad.”
Carter tested positive after being exposed to someone during a dinner. His wife later tested positive after exposure to him.
“I caught it at a dinner,” he said. “Somebody that was infected came to the dinner and spread it to everyone at the table.”
Within the first eight hours of symptoms, Carter was being treated with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and a steroid. He’s feeling better now but says the virus knocked him out for days.
“Me, personally, I had an extreme case and it put me down for 10 days,” he recalled. “There were days I just couldn’t even get out of bed.”
This week, Carter was finally able to return to work at the Capitol. He says they had success in not only passing a budget for DMR, but also passing another piece of legislation that he believes is vital as COVID-19 and internet connectivity become a crucial part of our daily lives.
“I was the one that brought forth the Mississippi Cooperative Connectivity Act to provide rural broadband through CARES ACT funds,” said Carter. “We actually passed another piece of legislation on Monday. There is about $1.3 million left in the grant program, creating a third round for applicants to go and apply for that money. So, that was another piece of legislation that we passed on Monday.”
While he’s fully recovered now, Carter said he’s an advocate for masks more than ever after his own experience.
“It’s very, very important. It’s not fun to wear them. I mean, I don’t enjoy wearing a mask but it would kill me if I was still infected and I gave it to my mother or I gave it to someone that’s in the high-risk population by being in the same room,” he said.
The senator said it took seven days after his exposure for symptoms to occur.