This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Tuesday, December 2nd, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.

New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms, as well as 25% indoor dining. Schools are shut down. Certain parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island under a zoned shutdown. Get answers to questions you may have with our "Ask An Epidemiologist" series, or learn more aboutNYC COVID-19 testing options with our explainer. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.

Facing a surge of coronavirus patients, a group of doctors in Connecticut are asking Governor Ned Lamont to shut down gyms, indoor dining and prohibit all unnecessary gatherings.

The letter, which was signed by 35 doctors and one nurse, said that hospital workers were witnessing a rapid increase in admissions and severity of illness among patients that was "incredibly concerning."

“Based on what we know about the epidemiology of COVID-19, we are confident that a decision to close indoor dining and gyms and ban all other unnecessary public gatherings would protect our citizens from this lethal disease, keep our hospitals and caregivers from becoming overwhelmed, and save lives,” the letter reads.

Indoor dining and gyms are currently permitted at 50% capacity in the state.

Connecticut has more than 1,000 people currently hospitalized for coronavirus, the highest number since mid-May, according to the Hartford Courant. The state has also seen a spike in virus deaths, with 345 fatalities in November alone, which is more than the number of deaths in the previous four months combined.

Across the country, states are grappling with record hospitalization levels threatening to overwhelm medical facilities. Unlike the spring when the pandemic was mostly affecting the tristate region, hospitals will now be hard pressed to find extra staffing from other parts of the country.

“Everywhere is either hard hit or is watching their Covid numbers go up, and are expecting to get a lot of flu patients,” Nancy Foster, a vice president of the American Hospital Association, recently told the New York Times. “The ability of health care professionals to pick up and leave their hometowns is very limited.”

Dr. Luke Davis, an epidemiologist at Yale’s School of Public Health who organized the campaign, told the Hartford Courant that the group specifically wanted to target gyms and indoor dining.

“I think we’ve all tried to be patient,” Davis told the paper. “But just given the way the epidemiology has evolved, we feel like there’s an opportunity to intervene in these specific areas and hopefully prevent a further rise in cases.”

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that adults who contracted COVID-19 were twice as likely to say they recently ate at restaurant. Researchers, however, did not differentiate between indoor and outdoor dining.

But Governor Lamont has resisted closing dining and gyms.

During a news conference on Monday, he said, “We don’t have to do everything by fiat. In many cases people tend to do what they feel comfortable with, and that’s what keeps them safe.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday ordered hospitals to prepare for an increase in patients but stopped short of issuing broader restrictions on higher-risk activities like indoor dining and gyms.

In New York City, indoor dining is open at 25% capacity while gyms are open at one third of capacity.

Los Angeles County, the largest county in the country, is currently halting all indoor and outdoor dining for three weeks.