LSU coach Ed Orgeron appeared as a guest on Fox News on Tuesday afternoon, delivering his second public warning against the dangerous spread of coronavirus.
On "Watch Your World with Neil Cavuto," Orgeron said he didn't know whether the NCAA's cancellations of athletic events would ever extend to the football season, and he said people needed to take the sickness "seriously."
"We need to have confidence," Orgeron said. "We're a strong country. Just like our team, we're one team, one heartbeat. We're going to overcome adversity, but the key is to follow the plan and for everybody to take this very seriously, pull together, pull the same side of the rope. We will come through this, and when we come through this, we're going to be stronger."
Orgeron offered a similar message in a PSA-style video that Gov. John Bel Edwards released Saturday afternoon, but the cases of coronavirus has increased exponentially since then.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been 171 positive cases of coronavirus in Louisiana, including four deaths. There are no cases yet in East Baton Rouge Parish, where Orgeron and his football team's facility is located, but, due to the growing number of cases, LSU officials have canceled all in-person classes and asked all students to return home, if able.
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said Monday that just over 120 players remained on campus, but the number was expecting to decrease over the following days.
No athletic events are taking place in the near future. The NCAA canceled all championship events through the academic semester on Thursday, and on Tuesday, the Southeastern Conference announced that all athletic activities — including practices, workouts and spring football games — were also suspended through the rest of the semester.
Meanwhile, Edwards has ordered the closing of bars, gyms and casinos and banned gatherings of 50 or more.
Cavuto asked Orgeron what he'd tell young people who didn't want to stay home, who wanted instead to go out to bars and restaurants.
"They need to take this seriously," Orgeron said. "It could affect a lot of people's lives. I think that maturity needs to play a big part in what we're doing. We need to look at the overall picture, the overall health of our country and the people this may affect. They need to be accountable and stay home and follow the rules."
The coronavirus knocked out LSU's spring game, which was to be held on April 18 at A.W. Mumford Stadium.
Was Orgeron concerned the cancellations would carve into the 2020 football season?
"You know, I don't know that," Orgeron said. "Obviously that would be a big concern. I do feel for all the sports and the spring sports that can't play, all the guys that work so hard, hopefully the NCAA gives them another year of eligibility so they can play another year next year."
Cavuto asked Orgeron if he played the U.S. stock market, which plunged 12% Monday for its worst day in more than decades, a reduction that Wall Street experts have said could be leading the economy into a recession.
"Oh yeah, I got a lot of money in it," Orgeron said, chuckling. "I don't blink. It's in there for a long time. I have confidence that the right things going to happen. I don't blink."