Nashville Man Urges People to Take Coronavirus Seriously After Two Positive Tests, 4 Months Apart

Carter Wright first tested positive for the novel coronavirus in March

Carter Wright
Carter Wright. Photo: Courtesy Carter Wright

A Nashville-based photographer and graphic designer is making an impassioned plea to take COVID-19 seriously after testing positive for the novel coronavirus for a second time, four months after he first got the virus.

As coronavirus cases have skyrocketed around the country, over the weekend Carter Wright, 29, shared his own experience with the virus to make it clear that COVID-19 is real, and harmful.

“Let me be your ‘friend that has corona.’ Please use me to convince anyone that isn’t taking this seriously or that wants to reopen the economy regardless of loss of life. I say all of this not for sympathy, but to put a face with this pandemic if you don’t have one already,” Wright wrote alongside his post, which has been widely shared on social media.

I have corona. Again,” he wrote. “For those that don’t know I tested positive for coronavirus in March. I naively took a trip to NYC right before everything went to s—.”

Two days after returning home, Wright said he began experiencing symptoms — and what started as just a sore throat progressed until he “had a cough bad enough to finally get approved for a test.”

“The cough lasted a few days after my positive result, but mostly I was doing ok quarantining at home at that point,” he continued, going on to note that in addition to the physical symptoms, he “wouldn’t wish” the mental toll of having coronavirus on anyone.

“So I spend the next few months under the assumption that I am better. And even though I presume I am immune, I still take precautions because so much is still unknown,” Wright wrote. “I wear a mask. I socially distance. I don’t eat at restaurants, only take out. I was constantly evaluating whether any activity was worth it.”

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Then earlier this month, four months after his first symptoms, Wright said that his throat began hurting again, “but this time it was so bad I could barely swallow water.”

A first COVID-19 came back negative, but Wright then developed a high fever and went to the ER — there, he tested positive. (Health experts are not yet sure if people who recover from COVID-19 are then immune. Some experts say that a second positive test could just mean that the virus is taking its time to leave the body)

“So much is unknown about the virus. This is not a joke. This is not the flu. I have friends who still can’t taste or smell after getting it. I have black floaters in my eye ever since I had it the first time. Even mild cases I believe can permanently affect people,” he wrote. “Take this seriously. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Don’t go to that party.”

Wright went on to note that his story was just his own experience.

“Don’t take my case as medical fact,” he wrote. “I’m still learning about what’s happening to me. Every person I’ve talked to that has had COVID has had a different story. All I know is I tested positively twice after getting better after the first time. I didn’t take the antibodies test unfortunately so I don’t know if I should have been immune. Basically this virus is insane. We are still learning. Take it seriously. ✌️”

Speaking with PEOPLE, Wright, who is "thankfully on the mend with no high fever anymore," says that the response to his story has been "overwhelming."

"Yes, there have been trolls and unsolicited medical advice, but overall I’ve received a ton of very sweet and encouraging messages and opportunities to connect with others impacted by COVID-19," he adds, before explaining what led him to share his story.

"When I contracted it the first time, it was frustrating and disheartening to hear people complain about masks or 'fake news'—my body knows this virus isn't fake," Wright says. "This time I wanted to be more vocal about my experience. I want to remind everyone this virus can impact anyone. Public health should always be more important than politics, and wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands are easy yet vital ways we can care for one another."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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