Saints HC Sean Payton Tests Positive for Coronavirus; NFL's 1st Confirmed Case

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 19, 2020

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on during the first half of an NFL football gameagainst the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
Brian Blanco/Associated Press

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has become the first confirmed person involved with the NFL to test positive for the coronavirus. 

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Payton announced his diagnosis Thursday "because he wants all people to heed the warnings of government officials, stay inside and behave responsibly."

Payton told Schefter he first began to feel ill Sunday and took a test the following day before receiving results confirming his diagnosis Thursday. 

"This is not just about social distancing. 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 [not have] 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."

According to the latest figures from Christina Maxouris, Steve Almasy and Amanda Watts of CNN.com, only New York (4,152), Washington (1,187), California (894), New Jersey (742) and Florida (384) have had more diagnosed cases of coronavirus than Louisiana (347) in the United States.

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