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What are potential next steps after COVID-19 put the Terps football season on pause?

MedStar Health sports physician Dr. Korin B. Hudson offered perspective, after the University of Maryland reported eight COVID cases within its football team.

WASHINGTON — After eight players on the Terps’ roster tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, the University of Maryland said Saturday’s game against No. 3 ranked Ohio State is canceled and will not be rescheduled.

“We realize that this news is disappointing to all of the Maryland fans out there who were looking forward to the Terps taking on an outstanding Ohio State team,” the school said in a statement. “But the responsible thing for us to do is pause football activities, given the number of positive cases currently in our program.”

For perspective on the team’s decision and potential steps ahead, WUSA9 spoke with MedStar Health sports physician Dr. Korin B. Hudson.

Hudson serves as a team physician for Georgetown University, assistant team physician for the Washington Wizards and the Washington Mystics, as well as a consulting physician for the Washington Capitals.

Below are excerpts of WUSA9’s conversation following Maryland’s announcement:

WUSA9: Doctor Hudson, if you were in this team’s shoes, what do you think your next steps would be?

Dr. Korin B. Hudson: Based on the information that's publicly available, it certainly sounds like they're doing all the right things. They saw their case rate go up, they pushed the pause button, they're reassessing. They're going to make sure that they're not seeing additional cases within their athlete population, and then they'll talk about going forward with the season.

WUSA9: Are we talking about extensive contact tracing? What do you do if you’re immediately faced with this situation?

Dr. Korin B. Hudson: I think that we've all gotten to a place where we're very comfortable working with our local health departments and making decisions about contact tracing and quarantining, and when that might be necessary. When it's necessary to quarantine roommates, or friends, or other close contacts. And typically, that is what we do. We identify the close contacts of anybody who's been positive, and we do put them in quarantine.

WUSA9: What were some of the impressions that crossed your mind as soon as we heard this huge game was canceled and the season would be at a standstill, at least for now?

Dr. Korin B. Hudson: When we look at college football this year, more than 50 games have been canceled or postponed in the last eight weeks. And so really, this isn't new. These are programs taking a critical look where they are in the moment, pushing the pause button when they need to pause, and really trying to pick back up and get through the season.

Dr. Korin B. Hudson: As I see the case positivity rates going up in local areas and around the country, and we look forward toward what's going to happen with the NCAA basketball season what's going to happen when the NHL season or when the NBA season gets going, I do hold my breath. And I'm starting to think are we going in the wrong direction in our communities and in the country in terms of case positivity rates.

WUSA9: What do you think about the number of cases that we have right here, eight positive tests.

Dr. Korin B. Hudson: Eight cases sound like a lot when we first look at it at face value. But when you think about the size of a football team, which could have 100, 110 guys on the roster … We've got coaches we've got managers we've got support staff, there may be upward of 150 or close to 200 people being tested every day. And so, eight out of several hundred is not nearly as concerning as if it were eight members of a basketball team and it was half.

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