"I think it was the chills – at this time of the year that signaled to him that this wasn’t going to be a normal flu," says Sean Payton of being diagnosed by a doctor

By Lindsay Kimble
March 23, 2020 01:08 PM

Sean Payton is opening up about the symptoms that led to his coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosis — and how he’s feeling now.

The 56-year-old New Orleans Saints head coach video chatted into Good Morning America on Monday, chatting with co-host Michael Strahan.

“I’m feeling ok,” Payton said. “It’s been a week now since I’ve been tested. Last week on Monday, I had chills and low-grade fever.”

Continued Payton, “I’ve progressively got a little better each day — I haven’t had too deal with respiratory issues.”

Payton started feeling sick and consulted a doctor, who ultimately had him get tested.

“I think it was the chills — at this time of the year — that signaled to him that this wasn’t going to be a normal flu,” explained Payton.

Payton continued of his symptoms, “By the time Thursday came, my pattern was still getting tired, still getting fatigued … wanting to lay down and take a nap after about 20 minutes working in the house.”

The coach publicly announced on March 19 that he tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first known person in the NFL to contract the disease.

RELATED: Saints Coach Sean Payton Tests Positive for Coronavirus, Making Him the First Known Case in NFL

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During his interview Monday, Payton also addressed those not taking the government’s recommendations — and, in some states, orders — to social distance seriously.

“We all have someone we know very closely — elderly people close to us — the idea that you can be invincible when you’re younger,” Payton said. “First of all, there are younger people dying from this virus and second of all the idea that you could transmit this to someone that isn’t healthy enough to withstand it … so I think the minute someone starts thinking close to home — there is too much science, too much data for us to be ignoring that and I think you get frustrated when you see that.”

Payton told ESPN when he was first diagnosed that he is one of the few cases of coronavirus that did not show the common symptoms, such as a fever and cough.

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“I was fortunate to be in the minority, without the serious side effects that some have,” he told ESPN. “I’m lucky.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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