File photo: CGTN
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, says states with spiking rates of COVID-19 should pause their reopening.
At a health forum hosted by U.S. news outlet The Hill on Thursday, Fauci said he hopes "we don't have to resort to [another] shutdown."
He recommended hard-hit states close bars, avoid large gatherings and get people to follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks.
If those changes are made, he said there would "almost certainly" be a drop in new cases.
Fauci also noted that California, Arizona, Texas and Florida make up 50% of new infections.
Thursday's remarks contrast with comments Fauci made the day before. On Wednesday he told the Wall Street Journal that hard-hit states should "seriously look at shutting down."
New U.S. cases are peaking at about 60,000 per day.
In response to the COVID-19 surge, President Trump tweeted on Thursday:
But with a higher percentage of positive test results and a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, most experts agree the surge cannot be blamed solely on increased testing.