National coronavirus cases, meanwhile, have picked up since their post-peak lows in early September, which could lead to another round of business closures, and deeper losses to the economy.

A day before the debate, US federal reserve chairman Jerome Powell warned that without further stimulus the nascent recovery could flatline. The first round of federal aid was key to jumpstarting the economy, he pointed out, and a second installment could head off a worst-case scenario in which a stuttering recovery, combined with the effects of the pandemic, could create a vicious cycle.

“There is a risk that the rapid initial gains from reopening may transition to a longer than expected slog back to full recovery as some segments struggle with the pandemic’s continued fallout,” he said.

But shortly after Trump’s return to the White House after his Covid-19-induced stay at Walter Reed Medical Center, he called off stimulus negotiations between US House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin. Democrats and Republicans remained roughly $1 trillion apart on a final price tag. Stock prices tanked after the tweet.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.