The number of people in the US who have died from the novel coronavirus has surpassed the 4,000 mark, according to data released early Wednesday by Johns Hopkins University.

The university's running tally counted 4,076 deaths and 189,618 cases as the US struggles to curb the outbreak.

The new mark came hours after President Donald Trump warned that the next two weeks will be “very painful" in the US in terms of deaths from the coronavirus.

Speaking at a White House briefing, Trump urged Americans to brace for "hard days ahead," two days after saying that holding US COVID-19 deaths between 100,000 to 200,000 would be a "good job."

"I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," he said. "We're going to go through a very tough two weeks.

"This is going to be a very, very painful two weeks," he stressed.

During the briefing, Dr. Deborah Birx, the doctor leading the White House's novel coronavirus response team, presented a model for the potential number of deaths from the disease in the US.

It shows that between 100,000 and 240,000 people may die if the U.S. follows social distancing and public health guidelines.

Without any intervention, the model shows 1.5 to 2 million deaths in the country.

On Sunday, The Trump administration also extended social distancing through April 30 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, shifting his stance on re-opening the country for business by the Easter holiday on April 12.

The US has become the country with the most confirmed coronavirus infections, followed by Italy, Spain and China after the virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. It has since spread to 177 countries and regions.

There are 859,796 confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide and 42,341 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. A total of 178,301 people have recovered from the disease.