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Public health expert: ‘It’s going to take about two to three weeks to see’ whether early reopenings cause spike

Tom Inglesby, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said on Sunday that the coronavirus’ incubation period meant it would take some time for any spike in infections due to relaxed restrictions to become apparent.

“It’s going to take about two to three weeks for us to begin to see trends that come out of the changes in social distancing,” Inglesby said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “A measure taken this morning, you probably won’t see a change in hospitalization rates or ICU capacity until two or three weeks from now. So that’s the nature of the disease, it’s going to take a little time for things to get into the system.”

Inglesby said that expanding testing capacity and contact tracing would also be vital in the weeks ahead to determine the rate of mild or asymptomatic cases.

“In the coming weeks and months we need to get a much better handle on the number of mild and moderate cases of disease we have. The good news is that many, many people do not get seriously ill with this disease,” he said. “The bad news is we’re not capturing those people in terms of numbers for the country and if we don’t know who they are we can’t break their chains of transmission.”

Asked by host Chuck Todd about the possibility of a second wave of the virus in the fall coinciding with the flu season, Inglesby said that “before we even get to the fall I am worried we will have small waves around the country in various places for the coming months.”

“Hopefully we won’t but … if we stopped social distancing tomorrow we would recreate the conditions that existed in this country in February and March,” Inglesby added.

“Don’t call it a lull,” he said.

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