WASHINGTON-US President Donald Trump has warned Americans to brace for a “very horrendous” number of coronavirus deaths in the coming days as the total number of global fatalities from the pandemic soared past 60,000.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States on Saturday surpassed 300,000, but Europe continued to bear the brunt of the pandemic which has left roughly half the planet confined at home at a huge cost to the global economy. Over 45,000 of global deaths have been in Europe, with Britain reporting a new daily high in fatalities, taking the overall toll to 4,300 out of nearly 42,000 cases.

Queen Elizabeth II is to make a rare, “deeply personal” speech on Sunday to urge people to rise to the challenge posed by the coronavirus, and personally thank frontline healthcare workers.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she will say, according to extracts released Saturday. There are now more than 1.2 million confirmed cases across the globe, and around 65,000 people have died since the virus first emerged in China late last year, according to a John Hopkins University tally.

Trump said the United States was entering “a time that’s going to be very horrendous” with “some really bad numbers.” “This will probably be the toughest week,” he said at the White House. “There will be a lot of death.”

At the same time, the president stressed the US cannot remain shut down forever. “Mitigation does work but again, we’re not going to destroy our country,” he said. “I’ve said it from the beginning -- the cure cannot be worse than the problem.” The threat from mass gatherings was highlighted again this weekend, this time in Pakistan where authorities are trying to track down and quarantine tens of thousands of worshippers who attended a massive Islamic event last month.

More than 150 people who attended have tested positive for the coronavirus so far, with two deaths. Foreigners from several countries also went to the event, which was held despite government requests to cancel it over virus fears.