Tom Bossert: We took our 'eyes off the ball' on COVID during election

Former Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert speaks with Linsey Davis about the alarming spread of COVID-19 and the challenges the next president will face.
7:33 | 11/06/20

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Transcript for Tom Bossert: We took our 'eyes off the ball' on COVID during election
Whoever wins this race for the White House. They were still gonna need to lead America through this historic pandemic to discuss the challenges ahead we bring in president trumps former Homeland Security advisor and ABC contributor. Tom boxer thanks so much for joining us Tom. Thanks Lindsay. So I was talking about last night a little Shakespeare now as the winter of our discontent that's very pretty much what we've been hearing from a lot of the top public health officials what would you say is the cove at nineteen trajectory as we head into winter. Well I give you a better on the seems to be a willful suspension of disbelief. And and it's really dangerous. What we're seeing right now is something that's broken out of regional. Growth and it's become a national epidemic again and this can become very difficult if not impossible. For us to contain it remember the mistake we made in February. Was that we waited so long so we couldn't apply targeted regional efforts to try to contain this sprinted in to slow it. We had to employ implement a national blanket shutdown that's what this president did. And now we're at a point where I fear that we'll have no other choice. We have to act quickly now in order to reduce the odds of a national blanket shutdown not to insure one. And the numbers now and you just said some of them look at the icu admissions look at the hospital admissions this is tragic. And regardless of the outcome of the election this current president president terms can pass to deal with this in reckon with these numbers. Because his term does not end until January 20 at noon. And how does that Kobe responds impacted by this election and going fort a potential transition of power. So the election has affected in a couple of ways I think the election is painted this false narrative that it was either a national shutdown or not. Of course we had a third alternative all along. Then we should now be implementing it we should have been implementing it several weeks ago. And it's a targeted tailored to nationalize their nationally coordinated effort but locally implemented. With resource is to help the people that face temporary and short shutdowns. With additional help coming from federal resources but also for other states this is a major disaster declared in all fifty states simultaneously. We're not acting that way were acting as if it's a local state responsibility. And not a joint collective one for that was the first thing. The second thing election did is it took our eyes off the ball I think all of us are guilty a little bit of that but the president and leadership teams it certainly is guilty of that. And then thirdly how did the has the transition effect this not just the election the transition is gonna affect us because it's delayed. Whatever the election results are. We're gonna have a new president and vice president take office January 20 that's how our system works its constitutionally enshrined. If this is it just turns the way the trend goes right now there then Vice President Biden wins he's not gonna have many options by January 20. In front of them and we're not gonna have a really violently distributed vaccine. In time to rest this with a pharmaceutical interventions so it's time to step up the you know behavioral interventions to fill in other alternative. Joseph Biden has said that he would impose a national mass mandate. Where he can if he becomes president how would something like that working is that an approach that you'd recommend. You know the word I really caution him to be careful in using his mandate. So we all agree and he has a really strong bully pulpit to help promote this universal mask wearing is important. That should be our national collective. Objective we should view that as our responsibilities. When he talks about it and with turn in terms of a mandate from from Washington DC he'll have to be careful especially because if he gets elected I only get in front of any news here. But if he gets elected to the presidency so many people in red states that didn't vote for him. We'll be tempted to not listen to anything that he seeks to compel them to do any kind of compulsory law. Tends to get people who are distrustful of government authority. To get their back up and ultimately not do it in some form of mild quiet protest. So I'd like him to use his bully pulpit pulpit to encourage a universal adoption of mask wearing. And then to help bring the whole country together governors and mare's. For them to mandated to present to enforce it if you have water to Al fires that's OK don't you don't wanna put too much gasoline. On Ari sensitive situation. And lastly how the game changer when you say is a vaccine and what more would still be neat need to be done at that point from a disaster relief standpoint. Here you know it's a game changer. But it's not an over nineteen changer. So the vaccine let's say we did a good one that 60%. Effective. That means if every single man woman child in the country were to take it in the world Morgan again this country's probably going to be a two shot process to get a shot. You wait to need a second shot they call booster. It's 60% of people that get it. Produced the immune response. Against this this virus that we hope for that's a really good vaccine that's really gig compared to what you expect the flu vaccine to be every year. So think about that. Every single person in this country can take that vaccine properly. And there'd still be 40% of the population vulnerable so we have to make sure we control our expectations. It won't happen over night. Who won a large adoption rate we want people to believe it's safe to take this. But oh what many headlines to miss reader complete the scenario. If if it's an effective. And safe vaccine. For somebody takes it and then get sick and god forbid passes away anyway. We don't want them to complete this and say well I got sickened or that might have my personal my friend got sick and died because of the vaccine that's a safety issues. He can still be efficacy issue so written a lot of messaging. Sprint to be a little patient and I would anticipate vaccine distribution and adoption through the country all through next spring summer and into the fall. And that's really a long time away if you think about it we are right now reporting as you ventured to this segment. A 1101000. New. Cases a day and and if we continue to outpace all through the winter we can't just rely on a magical pharmaceutical intervention. Tom just play on the spot for a moment if I can anything could be helpful for our viewers what would it take for you personally to to take. This vaccine or recommended to your Fam Liz what kind of data would you have to save us. Well the FDA has been very transparent about their safety and their efficacy standards and the thresh holds that they'll permit. I'm comfortable with both their standards and there's thresholds and the procedures that they're putting in place. As I said I'm a little bit more worried about the misunderstandings. Around efficacy that I am about safety. I'm convinced. That the safety of the vaccine that ultimately hits the United States markets will be very very high quality and not pose risks in my life. It might not necessarily make me. Immune to the virus but that's worth trying and there's absolutely no hesitation in my voice when that FDA approval comes I'll be in line. When appropriate because there are others who are more frail and more deserving than me but when they tell me I'm in the right line in the right place I'll take that vaccine. Really helpful Tom Boston thanks so much as always for your insights.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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