Health expert says city needs to practice social distancing, good hygiene to prevent second COVID-19 wave

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – An local health expert says Memphis is not experiencing a second wave of COVID-19, but the city will need to maintain social distancing and good hygiene practices to prevent one.

As some states see declining COVID-19 cases and slowly reopen, Memphis has recently seen a small increase.

“We attribute it to the good weather, the Memorial Day weekend, people being out and getting together and maybe the marches and protests we’ve seen people gathering for those important issues,” said Dr. Jon McCullers, pediatrician-in-chief at Le Bonheur bonheur and dean of clinical affairs at UT Health Science Center.

McCullers also serves on the city and county COVID-19 task force and on the Back to Business reopening subcommittee.

“The mayors have indicated they’ll make a decision next Monday on that, and the health department has signaled they’re fairly comfortable with planning to go ahead and move into phase three,” McCullers said.

WREG asked if we should brace for a second wave when phase three allows more businesses to reopen.

“The data that we’re following right now does not suggest a second surge or a second wave is occurring,” McCullers said.” [It’s] more of a reset to slightly higher plateau as we have reopened some.”

He says it could depend on how well people continue to social distance, practice good hygiene and wear face masks.

“If we want to see the numbers go down, I think that’s the only way we are going to do it short of total shutdown again. So, I think it’s a key issue for us,” McCullers said.

But McCullers isn’t ready to say a city or county ordinance is needed to enforce their use. 

“Whether an ordinance mandating mask use is the right way to get cooperation around that and get an increased number of people of  doing it, I’m not sure,” McCullers said. “But I do support the public health idea we need to be doing this more.”

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