Scarborough: Coronavirus pandemic more like World War II than 9/11

MSNBC's Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughScarborough calls on Cuomo to walk back statement he made about Trump: 'Out of bounds' Mika Brzezinski: 'Super grossed out' by Trump speech attendees 'who put their lives at risk' Democrats tear into Trump's 'deep state' tweet: His 'lies and recklessness' have 'killed people' MORE said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic is more like World War II than the 9/11 terror attacks, with the "Morning Joe" co-host citing "high-ranking officials" who say the crisis "could be very bad."

Scarborough broached a worst-case report on the pandemic that puts the American death toll at "at least 2 million" in making the comparison.

"[That's] more Americans than died in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Civil War combined. It is a staggering number," Scarborough said.

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"The White House is unusually focused and frightened about what is coming," he said before later adding, "It's all hands on deck. This isn't like 9/11. This is like World War II. It is going to change the way we live as Americans. And the atmosphere inside the White House was very sober."

Scarborough, a staunch critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election Planned Parenthood: 'The fate of our rights' depends on Ginsburg replacement Progressive group to spend M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy MORE, also said he agreed with the president's current approach of not imposing a nationwide lockdown.

"As I hear the president yesterday talking about voluntary measures, and then suggesting they may have to lock down so-called hot spots, I was thinking, 'That's actually the best way to go at first,'" the former GOP congressman said. "Because we Americans might not respond as well, certainly not as well as, let's say, people in China, people in Singapore, to federal government locking things down. It is going region by region, state by state, locality by locality."

On Monday, the president announced new federal guidelines regarding social distancing, with administration officials recommending that Americans for the next 15 days avoid gatherings of more than 10 people; abstain from eating in bars, restaurants and food courts; avoid discretionary travel; work from home; and incorporate home schooling if possible.

“We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it,” Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room on Monday afternoon.

Trump added that his administration isn't considering a nationwide lockdown, but “certain areas” of the country with large amounts of cases could see increased restrictions.