Some health officials call for a nationwide shutdown, local doctor doesn’t agree

WATCH: More than 300 scientists, doctors and nurses sign letter asking politicians to shutdown the country

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the country, some medical experts are pushing for a nationwide shutdown to curb the spread.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 146,000 people have died from COVID-19 and experts said we are on the path to lose more than 200,000 lives by November first.

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“There was a patient in the hospital who died on Sunday and another who had a breathing tube put in,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Baptist Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist. “This is still very real.”

More than 300 scientists, doctors, and nurses from across the country signed an open letter asking lawmakers to shut it down, start over and do it right.

Something Dr. Threlkeld does not support.

“In some areas of the country are very different from others,” he said. “So, if you look at the East Coast that suffered mighty in the beginning, while we sat back and watched and planned not to let that happen.”

However, the experts who signed the open letter believe many states reopened too quickly without a clear plan to defeat the virus.

“You have to have national strategies, national availability of tests, and for that, we have kind of fallen down,” he said.

The letter points out the United States leads the world in most deaths but said 99 percent were preventable.

The letter goes on to state we should have responded like Australia, Singapore and North Korea.

"It is a shame it would take that much for us to do just to stop the stuff we know we can stop very easily," Threlkeld said.

The open letter also demands the country increase testing capacity, add more contact tracers and gather more PPE to keep essential workers safe.