Coronavirus hotspots should consider rolling back reopening: Johns Hopkins doctor

'The country is not in a good place with respect to COVID right now,' Dr. Tom Inglesby says

Director of the Center for Health Security and Johns Hopkins University Dr. Tom Inglesby told "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace that the U.S. is seeing a "really serious" surge in coronavirus cases that has caused an increase in the country's death toll.

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"The country is not in a good place with respect to COVID right now," Inglesby said. "Of course there are places in the country where there are states doing well, but as you said across the South and in California and in a variety of other states we're having sharp increases in cases, sharp increases in hospitalizations and ventilator use, and now increases in deaths."

Inglesby believes one of the major issues with the United States' strategy for containing the coronavirus is that "we don't have a unity of message."

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"We've been getting conflicting messages about mask use at the White House level and from state governors, we've had insufficient attention to indoor large gatherings and too many people are meeting for social gatherings in large numbers, Inglesby said. "We have to get back to the basics, wearing face coverings, six feet apart, telecommuting, avoiding large gatherings, and really having a strong central message."

Dr. Joseph Varon, center, visits with Dorothy Webb, left, and her daughter, Tammie, inside the Coronavirus Unit at United Memorial Medical Center, July 6, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

He added that for the areas of the United States that have become serious hotspots, officials should consider stepping back from reopening and moving back a phase.

"It doesn't need to look like exactly like it looked in March and April," Inglesby added. "I think we should still try and have people going to work, but this idea that we can normalize large social gatherings again, that's just not right and we're going to have to change course or we're going to continue to see these rises."

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Although the death toll from the pandemic significantly dropped for a short period of time, Inglesby said it isn't anything to "take any comfort in" since the daily death toll is rising again.

"It's wonderful that the number of deaths went down in the 200s for a time, but we’re now back to 800-900 deaths per day in the United States," Inglesby said. "We should not accept as normal the 800 or 900 deaths that we have in this country. We can do better, we can actually make this disease much, much less serious in this country."

While he believes that wearing masks should have been enforced from all levels of government since the beginning of the pandemic, he believes that President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and state governors' decisions to wear masks while out in public is "the right thing to do."

"I don't think we should think about this as a personal choice," Inglesby said. "We don't think its a personal choice to drive through a neighborhood at 80 miles per hour. We agree to slow down because we want to protect kids. The same thing is true here, we want to wear masks to protect our neighbors."

Visitors wearing masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19 walk through downtown San Antonio, July 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

According to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 3.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases, more than 995,000 people who have recovered, and more than 134,000 deaths in the United States.

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