Saints' Sean Payton first in NFL orbit with positive coronavirus test

Josh Schrock
NBC Sports BayArea

The first known coronavirus case in the NFL's orbit emerged Thursday when New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton told ESPN he had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Payton told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he got tested for the virus Monday and was notified that he had tested positive Thursday. Payton is one of the 20 percent of cases who does not have a fever or a cough. While he is fatigued, Payton is hopeful for a full recovery. 

He told Schefter he came forward with his diagnosis in order to urge the public to take the global pandemic seriously. 

"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."

The sports world shutting down helped Americans realize the severity of the virus. Last week Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive, leading the NBA to suspend its season indefinitely. Other sports leagues quickly followed suit as the world tries to stop the spread of the disease. 

[RELATED: 49ers pledge $500K to support community amid virus pandemic]

As of Thursday morning, there were more than 10,000 cases in the United States, and at least 150 deaths, per the Centers for Disease Control, state and local government and NBC News reports. 

Louisiana is one of the states that has been hit hardest by the virus, and currently has 280 cases as of Friday. 

Saints' Sean Payton first in NFL orbit with positive coronavirus test originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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