Now it seems the old maxim of “It’s the economy, stupid” will be replaced by “It’s the virus, stupid” as the defining issue for voters, not least because the suffering and death have a direct impact on the economy itself: Americans have filed 52.7m unemployment claims over the past four months…

Schwartz added: “When Trump had the economy going gangbusters he had a stronger argument on his behalf that, despite his disruptiveness and unpleasantness, people were doing OK and things seemed to be moving ahead. But look at the polling on whether the country’s going in a good direction or a bad direction and, boy, did that spike with the bad direction since March.”…

Leon Panetta, a former defence secretary and CIA director, said: “If you operate on the basic premise that crisis defines leadership, then you’d have to say that this crisis has also defined the failure of leadership. That has without question impacted on politics in this country.

“It’s pretty clear that there are a hell of a lot of constituencies out there that feel that he’s failed to lead with this issue. There’s a sense that in many ways he’s basically said, ‘You’re on your own in terms of dealing with this’. He at one point said he doesn’t take responsibility for what’s happening with this virus and I think that sent a real message to the country that the president’s gone awol on the country at a time of crisis.”