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Photo contributed by Stephen Carter / Rep. Mike Carter is pictured wearing a mask during the Lincoln Day Dinner.

NASHVILLE — Tennessee State Rep. Mike Carter, who has been hospitalized in intensive care with a coronavirus infection, says he is starting to feel better.

Carter said on Twitter on Monday morning that he is "feeling a little better this morning but expect ups and downs during recovery. Sincere thanks to the wonderful staff here at Erlanger and for all the prayers and well wishes."

Carter did not attend last week's three-day session of the Tennessee General Assembly, which dealt with several COVID-19 issues including a controversial bill that substantially raises the legal barrier for filing and winning a coronavirus-related lawsuit.

In a statement issued later on Monday afternoon, the attorney, businessman and former Hamilton County General Sessions Court judge, said the reason he didn't attend the session was "because I was advised I may have been exposed to coronavirus. I would certainly not take the chance of exposing others. A man protects his treasures and I treasure my family, the House and Senate and its great staff."

The lawmaker said he also "discovered last week I was positive for the virus and stayed in quarantine. I was asymptomatic in the beginning, but then symptoms appeared and very quickly worsened. I am receiving wonderful care and I greatly appreciate the kindness and well-wishes so many have sent. I humbly request prayers for my sweet wife and family in this difficult time."

Carter has received a great deal of support and prayers on social media. He is also coming under criticism from some on social media who see his pre-infection actions as showing disdain for the pandemic's dangers.

As an example, the Ooltewah Republican posted on Twitter a photo of himself unmasked and sitting with no social distance between himself and U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty at a Chattanooga fundraiser on July 31.

Carter's son, Stephen Carter, told the Times Free Press on Monday that his father wore a mask most of the time at the Lincoln Day Dinner event, except when eating, adding that removal of a mask while dining publicly is in accord with state COVID-19 recommendations.

The younger Carter also provided to the Times Free Press another photo: It shows Carter wearing a mask at the Lincoln Day dinner while meeting with several other attendees.

Health experts are urging people to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the issue has become highly politicized, with a number of conservatives questioning the need and other adamant that everyone should be following recommendations on mask wearing.

 

Background

GOP U.S. Senate rivals Hagerty, Sethi criticized for not wearing masks at Hamilton County Republican event

Hamilton County announces COVID-19 exposure at GOP event attended by Hagerty, Sethi

Hamilton County sheriff doubts effectiveness of masks, will not commit to testing after exposure to coronavirus

This story will be updated.

Contact Andy Sher asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.

 

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