Last Thursday, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton revealed that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
On Wednesday, he said that his doctor has cleared him.
“I was cleared yesterday,” Payton told WWL’s Sports Talk with Bobby Hebert and Kristian Garic. “It’s been quite a process, and you spend a lot of time trying to learn as much as you can about it. We’re certainly seeing it on the news 24/7.”
Payton felt symptoms 10 days ago
Payton told WWL that he began feeling symptoms two Sundays ago, meaning that he was cleared 10 days after initially feeling symptoms. He told “Good Morning America” on Monday that he started feeling chills and a fever on March 15, but he hadn’t experienced any of the respiratory issues associated with the illness.
Health experts and government officials have regularly recommended and ordered 14-day quarantines for people who have been exposed to or diagnosed with the coronavirus.
“But basically a weekend ago, it wasn’t until Sunday night, when I first began to feel some flu-like symptoms,” Payton continued. “Monday morning, they were certainly a little bit more significant. I had a low-grade fever ... and that’s when I had my test on Monday and basically quarantined at that point at the house.”
Payton responds to critics
Payton also responded to criticism that he could have spread the virus during a horse-track visit last weekend and speculation that he was provided special access to coronavirus testing while New Orleans and Louisiana are inundated with COVID-19 cases.
“Hey, if I would have known I had this, I wouldn’t have been at the race track,” Payton said. “ ... I had symptoms. I wasn’t gonna use a test if I didn’t have symptoms.”
The growing problem in Louisiana
As of Wednesday, Louisiana had reported 1,795 positive tests, more than any other state besides New York, California, Washington, Michigan and Illinois, according to the New York Times. The per-capita cases are higher than anywhere but New York and Washington, according to ABC. The state has also recorded 65 deaths.
Payton advocated for social distancing and flattening the curve as the situation in and around New Orleans worsens.
“Our state right now, the numbers aren’t very good. It’s doubling and tripling. ... Because when you look at the numbers and you look at what’s happened, when two goes to six and six goes to 28 and the next thing you know you’re at 500, it just tells you how contagious this is,” he said.
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