Saints head coach Sean Payton says he's tested positive for coronavirus

Payton becomes first person in NFL world known to have the virus
Posted at 3:22 PM, Mar 19, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton, says he has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Payton told ESPN on Thursday that he didn’t feel well on Sunday, so he got tested for the virus on Monday and received the results Thursday.

With this diagnosis, the 56-year-old has become the first person in the NFL world known to have tested positive for the virus.

Peyton told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he came forward about being diagnosed because he wants all people to listen government officials who say to 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.”

ESPN reports that Payton is fatigued and resting at home, but he’s part of the 20 percent of cases that have no fever or cough. The coach says he’s fortunate to be in the minority of people without serious symptoms.

“I'm lucky,” he said. “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."

For now, Payton says he will self-quarantine at home through the weekend and he’s optimistic about a full recovery.

As of Thursday evening, Louisiana had reported more than 340 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, with at least eight deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

There are ways to help protect yourself from contracting the virus, including practicing social distancing and washing your hands regularly. You can also help stop the spread of the virus to others by staying home if you're sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, wearing a face mask if you're sick, and disinfecting commonly touched objects.

Click here to learn more about the virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.