Transcript for How high will the COVID-19 death toll rise?
Joining us now is ABC news contributor Tom Bossert, former white house homeland security adviser. Thanks for joining us. What are you seeing as cases surge around the country? Good morning, Michael. It's been a while since I've come out and commented on this and I think what I'm seeing is troubling because it looks now in the south like it looked in the northeast in February and what does that mean? That means in February then we were trying to convince people without evidence that there was disease among them. Now we have the evidence in all of the states that we've seen on your graphs this morning and yet people still are not listening or heeding the advice and our public health officials have adopted different standards and so remember what February led to, Michael, it led to March and that was a terrible exponential growth in this disease. That was an awful growth in it, Tom. Where do you see things heading over the next couple of months and how high could the death toll rise? Yes, so you know we had this experience, remember, way back in the beginning of this. We had the diamond princess cruise ship and saw what this disease would do. I have a public health official who advises me all the time who says we know the microbiology and know the math from this experience. We just don't know what people are going to do and so if we don't change the behaviors that we're covering and seeing, we could see a death toll of 500,000, not the 120,000 where we are today so it was a staggering exponential growth curve in March and into early April in New York. But New York state, the city and the entire state is 20 million people. We're now talking about states showing this trend, alarming trend of growth totaling almost 150 million people in the country and so when people say in this community that the worst is yet to come, they are not any longer making a prediction, they're making a guarantee. Remember that once a community sees 1% spread, in any community, it's very difficult if not impossible to slow the spread of the virus with these changes in behavior and human interventions and so we can't look at where the numbers are today. We have to speculate where they will be in two, three or four weeks based on how much of this disease we're detecting and we're detecting it at levels that almost ensure some large exponential growth curve numbers in at least two or three state. When you hear the worst is yet to come that is a scary statement to hear. Thank you so much. We appreciate your time this
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