Regardless of the election’s outcome this week, U.S. President Donald Trump will be the one steering the country through what is likely to be the darkest and potentially deadliest period of the coronavirus pandemic, and he has largely excluded the nation’s leading health experts from his inner circle.

Trump will still have control of the nation’s health apparatus and the bully pulpit that comes with the Oval Office until Jan. 20, as infections approach 100,000 a day and death rates begin to rise as hospitals are strained to their breaking points.

But the president has largely shuttered the White House Coronavirus Task Force and doubled down on anti-science language, telling voters that the country is "rounding the corner” in the fight against the virus that has claimed nearly a quarter of a million lives.