New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton tested positive for the coronavirus, he told ESPN on Thursday.
Payton, 56, is the first person in the NFL world known to test positive for the virus.
Payton said he didn’t feel well this past Sunday, took the test Monday, and received the results Thursday afternoon. Payton is resting at home, fatigued, but said he is part of the 20 percent of the cases that have no fever and no cough. But now he will self-quarantine in his home through the weekend, and he said he is upbeat and optimistic about a full recovery.
Payton said he came forward with the diagnosis because he wants all people to heed the warnings of government officials, stay inside and behave responsibly.
“This is not just about social distancing,” Payton told ESPN. “It’s shutting down here for a week to two weeks. If people understand the curve, and understand the bump, we can easily work together as a country to reduce it. Take a minute to understand what the experts are saying. It’s not complicated to do what they’re asking of us. Just that type of small investment by every one of us will have a dramatic impact.
“I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have. I’m lucky. Younger people feel like they can handle this, but they can be a carrier to someone who can’t handle it. So we all need to do our part. It’s important for every one of us to do our part.”
The virus has spread throughout the world, and Louisiana has been one of the most infected states.
“The concern with Louisiana is the amount of people that come in and out of this area after Mardi Gras season. This is an area that doctors are concerned about. So our parents, and those that are more susceptible to this virus, deserve everyone doing their best to combat it.
“There are hundreds of people right now in tough predicaments, fighting for their lives. Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem. We can easily help reduce the numbers of those impacted. We have to do our best to beat this and I know we can.”