Vulnerable religious populations elsewhere could also be at risk of the pandemic, he said, including Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh. "When we talk about a crowded place," he said, "if COVID got going there it would just spread like wildfire."
A Nigerian cardinal, he said, also commented that the country would not have the resources necessary to deal with a serious outbreak.
USCIRF has also voiced concerns that governments could use the pandemic to crack down on religious minorities, or violate freedom of religion.
The commission issued a fact-sheet on March 16 outlining some of its concerns, including Muslim Uyghurs being forced to work on factories around China despite health concerns, churches in South Korea subject to harassment for their alleged role in spreading the virus, and Saudi Arabia issuing a travel ban on a predominantly Shi'a Muslim province.
But on Thursday, Brownback said that, according to "anecdotal information," governments around the world were not citing the pandemic to crack down on religious minorities.
He said that "fortunately the reporting that we are seeing is that governments are, by and large, not doing that and in some cases being more lenient towards religious minorities."
He also called on churches and religions around the world to practice "social distancing" to slow the spread of the virus.
"I haven't been to mass myself in several weeks, and it's the longest period I've gone without going to mass, and I think people should be doing this to stop the spread of the virus," Brownback said.