The first case of COVID-19 has hit the NFL.
Details from league insiders Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport:
Saints’ HC Sean Payton tested positive for the coronavirus, he told ESPN on Thursday. Payton is the first person in the NFL world known to test positive for the virus.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2020
Sean Payton, who attended a race at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, felt like he was coming down with a cold and wasn’t feeling right. Got tested, and was found to have the coronavirus. It sounds like he’s feeling better now.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 19, 2020
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton says he has tested positive for coronavirus. Schefter has an expanded story on ESPN’s website, which includes details of his symptoms, when he took a test, and when he found out. It is a sobering story, to be sure. Because while plenty of people have taken serious precautions to stem the spread and flatten the curve, sometimes it takes a big-name celebrity to drive home the realness of the situation.
In that vein, Payton explained why he came forward with the diagnosis:
“This isn’t just about social distancing. It’s shutting down here for a week 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.”
Payton went on to explain how younger people might feel like they can handle it, but don’t realize they can be a carrier to someone who can’t. He also continued to stress the importance of doing the little things as part of a big-picture effort in the process.
Want some encouraging news? Payton is at home quarantined, but is optimistic about a full recovery.
As we continue to see high-profile members of the sports world be diagnosed with the disease, my hope is that people around the nation heed the advice of experts while they can. Doing so could be helpful across the board.