Outside of embracing conspiracy theories, Trump administration officials appear to have pinned their hopes on improved testing and eventual vaccine approval.

“The strategy, if you can summarize in one word, is hope,” said Dr Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of the Emory School of Medicine and Grady Health System in Georgia. “And hope is not a strategy.”

And as Covid-19 cases surge, the economic recovery falters and coronavirus government aid runs out, the lack of a coordinated response to the pandemic during the interregnum will have serious consequences, according to experts.

“We are heading into the very worst of the pandemic right now,” said Dr Megan Ranney, an emergency room doctor at Brown University who has lobbied to protect healthcare workers during the pandemic. “The degree of spread of this infection and its toll on our country is going to be, to a large extent, determined by what happens in the next two months.”