Lewnard said the paper doesn't argue that Zika isn't a legitimate health threat.
In addition to microcephaly in newborns, Zika can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disease that leads to muscle weakness. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged pregnant women not to travel to any area with Zika.
"The threat of Zika is a concern. It's a public health crisis," said Lewnard.
"It's just that canceling the Olympics is not going to be what it takes to stop the problem here," he added.
There have been about 1,400 cases of Zika reported in the United States — the vast majority of which are travel-related. A total of 400 of those cases involved pregnant women with lab evidence of Zika infection, according to the CDC. There has been one Zika-related death in the United States, of an elderly patient in June. A 70-year-old man in Puerto Rico died in February of complications from the virus.
Although those cases have drawn widespread media attention in the U.S., the new paper estimates that an individual international traveler to the Games in Rio will have a probability of acquiring Zika from 1 in 6,200, at the high end of risk, to just 1 in 56,300 at the low end.
And the probability of taking the virus back to their home country is significantly lower, given the claim that Zika will clear a person's system in around 10 days, on average.
The paper noted that most travelers, more than 50 percent, to the games, will be from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Oceania, Japan, South Korean and Israel, "where the overall risk of local mosquito-borne transmission is expected to be low."
Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, was critical of the new report, saying "it makes the usual conservative assumptions" to calculate the risk of Zika infection among travelers.
Caplan said he believes the authors are underestimating the numbers of cases that will occur, as well as the time that the virus stays in a person's blood, and the number of people who will be carrying Zika to Rio from their own countries, who themselves can transmit the virus to other travelers.
Caplan was one of the signatories to a letter in May that urged the World Health Organization to pressure Olympics officials to move or postpone the Games because of Zika.
Now, with the opening ceremonies due to take place Aug. 5, in less than two weeks, "I understand they're not going to move the Games, or postpone," Caplan said. But, he added, "I would still be very prudent about going if you're of reproductive age."
"Why take the risk if you're a fan or tourist?" Caplan asked.
Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Games through the year 2032.