US President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned of a “very painful” two weeks as the United States wrestles with a Coronavirus surge that the White House warns could kill as many as 240,000 Americans.

“This is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks,” Trump told a press conference at the White House.

Trump described the pandemic as “a plague.”

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” he said.

Top health experts said that the decision to maintain strict social distancing was the only way to stop the easily transmitted virus, even if this has caused massive disruption to the economy with three quarters of Americans under some form of lockdown.

“There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviors, each of our behaviors translating into something that changes the course of this viral pandemic over the next 30 days,” Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator at the White House, said.

Infectious diseases specialist Anthony Fauci told the press conference that “mitigation is actually working” and that authorities are “doing everything we can to get it (the death toll) significantly below that.”

President Donald Trump had on said Sunday that the peak death rate in the United States from the Coronavirus pandemic was likely to hit in two weeks.

During a briefing at the White House, Trump also said that he was extending the government’s “social distancing” guidelines until April 30.

In a dire warning, the White House has projected that America’s peak death toll from the Coronavirus is likely in two weeks coinciding with Easter weekend and in a worst case scenario, a total of 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could eventually succumb to the virus.

“It’s possible. It’s entirely possible that would happen if we don’t mitigate. What we’re trying to do is to not let that happen,” America’s top infectious diseases doctor, Anthony Fauci said at a White House briefing.

Trump said that the grim numbers come from the “most accurate” study so far which landed on his desk Sunday.

Trump said, “2.2 million people would have died if we did not do the social distancing and all that. If we could hold that down to a 100,000 – it’s a horrible number – we’ve done a very good job.”

The number of deaths in the United States from Coronavirus has surpassed those reported by China, where the pandemic began in December, according to a toll published on Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University.

US Coronavirus deaths on Tuesday set the one-day record at 865 taking the total tally to over 4000.