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    4/02/2020 3:13 am

    Americans were told Tuesday to brace for "very painful" weeks ahead in a worsening coronavirus pandemic projected to claim up to a quarter million US lives, as fatalities spiked in European hotspots Spain, France and Britain.
    With more than 42,100 already killed by the disease barrelling around the globe, the United States registered a record 865 deaths in 24 hours -- taking its death toll to 3,873.
    As field hospitals sprouted in the US outbreak's epicenter New York City, Trump said he was extending social distancing and stay-at-home orders for another 30 days.
    "This is going to be a very painful -- a very, very painful -- two weeks," the president said at the White House as he described the pandemic as "a plague."
    "I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead."
    In a matter of months, the virus has infected more than 857,000 people in a crisis hammering the global economy and transforming the daily existence of some 3.6 billion people told to stay home under lockdowns.

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