Sixty percent of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, which has registered the world's highest number of cases and deaths, according to a poll.

The 60 percent disapproval rating, shown in the Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted between July 12 and 15 and released on Friday, represented a rise of 15 percentage points since March, reports Xinhua news agency.

The latest survey showed 52 percent of the respondents "strongly" disapproved of Trump's tackling of the crisis, up 9 percentage points since May and 16 points since March.

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Meanwhile, those who approved of Trump's response to the pandemic fell to 38 percent from 46 percent in May and 51 percent in March.

Restart The Economy?

In addition, the proportion of respondents considering controlling the spread of the virus to be more important -- 63 percent -- nearly doubled the 33 percent who believed restarting the economy to be more of an urgent issue, the poll indicated.

A similar wide gap was witnessed between the strong proponents of curtailing the transmission and the firm believer in reopening the economy, representing 52 percent and 26 percent, respectively

Trump and other administration officials have repeatedly argued for reopening the country, even though public health experts have continuously warned against doing so prematurely.

The poll, which surveyed a random national sample of 1,006 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, came at a time when Trump has been severely criticized by current and former administration officials for failing to effectively contain the outbreak.

'Hopeless'

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, wrote a scathing article for The Washington Post on Thursday, slamming the President's COVID-19 response as "hopeless".

"I'd watched as the president downplayed the outbreak's severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals," Hogan said.

"Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation's response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we'd be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death."

Politicizing Science

Also published in The Washington Post, a scathing article by four former directors of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that came out Tuesday said that Trump has politicized science in ways never adopted by any president.

Tom Frieden, Jeffrey Koplan, David Satcher and Richard Besser said that public health experts had to fight the dual opponents of COVID-19 and "political leaders and others attempting to undermine" the CDC.

They pointed to recent evidence proving that "repeated efforts to subvert sound public health guidelines introduce chaos and uncertainty while unnecessarily putting lives at risk".

As of Saturday morning, the US reported a total of 3,641,417 COVID-19 cases and 139,175 deaths.