Director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dr. Tom Inglesby told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that he doesn't think a second shutdown is necessary despite a recent surge in coronavirus cases in at least 21 states including Florida, Arizona, Texas and North and South Carolina.
"I don't think we need to go into lockdown in these places," Inglesby said. "At this point, I think each state has a different story. Each state has its own reopening process and they're all slightly different."
He does, however, believe governors should be doubling down on their efforts to encourage people to wear masks and socially distance from each other.
"I do think that governors should be guiding their public to avoid large gatherings where we see the greatest potential risk," Inglesby added. "We should be encouraging people to wear face coverings, to stay at a distance, to avoid large gatherings, to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands. I mean those are the things that we know work and leaders really should, I think, double down in communicating that across the country."
Inglesby believes that the surge in cases is due to a combination of an increase in testing as well as hospitalizations due to "serious disease."
"You can distinguish what is more testing from what is more serious disease from looking at hospitalization rate, ICU rate and the percent positivity of the overall test in a given state," Inglesby said. "What we're seeing is increased positivity in testing, and in many cases, increased hospitalizations so serious illness happening. That's not just because we're doing more testing in the state, that’s because there is more serious disease in the state."
He added that he is worried that President Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday has the potential to be a "super-spreader" event.
"I thought that the rally was concerning in terms of public health risk. CDC's recent guidance was that the highest risk gatherings are those that are large, indoors, where people can’t stay apart from each other more than 6 feet, and where people travel from out of town, and this rally met all of those criteria," Inglesby said. "What I saw was that people were sitting quite close to each other, I didn’t see very many people wearing masks. There were some people hand shaking without hand sanitizer, lots of shouting. All of those things will increase the risk of spread."
He also warned that the ongoing protests across the country sparked by the death of George Floyd are potentially increasing the risk of community spread of the virus.
"I certainly sympathize with the motivations of the demonstrations that have gone on across the country, but I do worry that they are an opportunity for spread," he said. "I think it's a little bit – or even more than a little bit -- different than having a large indoor gathering. We know that outdoor risks are less than indoor risks, and if people can maintain their space that that will help, but certainly I think there is a risk with large-scale protesting as well for increased spread."
In addition, he reiterated that health experts do not see the virus fading away anytime soon.
"The U.S. has more cases than it's had in many, many weeks. If you compare us to other parts of the world, our numbers on the rise. Last week, we had 25,000 cases in a particular day and the European Union had 4000 cases," Inglesby said. "So it's not fading away in the US, it's not fading away in the world, there is something on the order of 70 or 80 countries where the virus is on the rise. So it's a serious, serious pandemic and as the W.H.O. said we are in a new phase of intensity in many parts of the world."
According to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 2.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 119,000 deaths in the United States.