This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Sunday, October 11th, 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. Certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens are under a zoned shutdown. A look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.

Here's the latest:

4:55 p.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci said his statements made months earlier were taken out of context in a new Trump campaign advertisement, CNN reported on Sunday afternoon.

"In my nearly five decades of public service, I have never publicly endorsed any political candidate. The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials," Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN in a statement published on Sunday.

The 30-second ad touts President Donald Trump's efforts to "meet the challenge" of coronavirus to protect older people and get medicines.

"President Trump tackled the virus head on, as leaders should," a narrator says.

The clip then cuts to Fauci—the only individual who speaks besides the narrator (and Trump in his legally required approval message at the end).

"I can't imagine that...anybody could be doing more," Fauci said in the clip, which was undated in the advertisement.

The ad appears to be edited from a March Fox News segment—before more than 200,000 people died from the virus in the United States. Fauci referenced the coronavirus task force's responsibility to make decisions and recommendations based on science during the March interview; the task force had nearly ceased altogether this summer as the pandemic continued.

Trump's campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said in a statement: "These are Dr. Fauci's own words. The video is from a nationally broadcast television interview in which Dr. Fauci was praising the work of the Trump Administration."

Governor Andrew Cuomo holding a press briefing at the State Capitol on October 6th, 2020.

Governor Andrew Cuomo holding a press briefing at the State Capitol on October 6th, 2020.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo holding a press briefing at the State Capitol on October 6th, 2020.
Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Western New York Still Seeing Virus Spread As State Deploys More Rapid Tests

1:15 p.m.: As New York tries to curb an uptick in COVID-19 cases across hotspot clusters in Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland County, and Orange County, the western region of New York has been battling an ongoing outbreak that the state has been unable to pinpoint.

"We have not identified specific clusters in that area, which is actually bad news," Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press call on Sunday morning from Albany.

Western New York had a 1.4% positivity rate on Saturday.

"When the doctor can find the source of infection on the human body and can circumscribe the area and treat the area, that's a good thing," he said. "The bad thing is when the doctor says, 'I can't find out what's causing the infection.'"

While clusters in other counties have led to a rewinding of the reopening in so-called "red zones," including in Brooklyn, Western New York's cases remain higher than the rest of the state, but have not drastically worsened.

"It's a general lack of compliance, which is causing the issue," Cuomo added. "It's not getting dramatically worse, but it's not getting dramatically better either."

Statewide, the positivity rate is .96%, which includes the clusters, according to figures Cuomo announced Sunday. It was the first time the number had dipped below 1% since September 24th, the governor's office noted.

Among red zones, the positive COVID-19 testing rate was 5.74% on Saturday, and 6.13% for the last week.

NYC had a 1.1% positivity rate.

According to a report in Buffalo News, coronavirus cases are more likely among Black residents and immigrant communities, who are more likely to go in-person to their jobs, risking exposure, or live in multigenerational homes.

On Friday, the governor announced COVID-19 rapid tests would be made available to every county in the state, with about 400,000 rapid test kits deployed in areas with recent upticks, including along the Pennsylvania border in Western New York, which includes Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Niagara counties.

Those tests will also help "yellow zones" in cluster counties with testing students and faculty at schools, the governor's office said. The state health department is requiring "yellow zone" schools to test 20% of students and faculty for coronavirus.

Cuomo's COVID-19 task force response member, Gareth Rhodes, added during the press call that rapid tests are an "effective way to help control these outbreak situations."

Five people died in New York State yesterday, bringing the official statewide death toll to 25,574. That figure does not include probable coronavirus deaths, such as those who died at home or a hospital who weren't tested for the virus.

President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C. on October 10th, 2020.

President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C. on October 10th, 2020.

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President Donald Trump speaks from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, D.C. on October 10th, 2020.
Shutterstock

Trump's Doctor Says He's Not A "Transmission Risk," But Doesn't Say If He Tested Negative

President Donald Trump is "no longer considered a transmission risk to others," according to the latest update from his doctor, who was previously caught exaggerating the president's wellbeing when he was treated for COVID-19 at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Saturday morning's "COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others," Dr. Sean Conley said in the memorandum.

Since Trump is 10 days out from when his symptoms were first noticed and hasn't had a fever for 24 hours, Conley said there's no evidence the president could spread the virus.

But the memo did not explicitly say whether the president tested negative for coronavirus. And it's still not known Trump last tested negative, leading to ongoing questions about when the White House was aware the president was infected.

The CDC says some people may need to quarantine for up to 20 days depending on the severity of the illness. The guidance also says people can be in public 10 days after symptoms first began, 24 hours without a fever without using medicines, and as other symptoms are improving, such as loss of taste and smell.

It is not clear which, if any, symptoms Trump may still have, nor what medications he may or may not be taking.

Conley wrote that all of Trump's symptoms were "improved."

In his first public event since becoming sick with coronavirus, Trump spoke to hundreds of supporters from the group Blexit, founded by conservative activist Candace Owens to encourage Black and brown voters to reject the Democrat party and support Trump. Owens paid for some rally-goers' travel and lodging, according to an ABC News report.

Crowded in front of the White House, the group gathered, many without masks and with little apparent attempt to social distance. The attendees were fenced in rather than given the space to spread out throughout the sweeping lawn, photographs show.

During his remarks at the event, dubbed a "peaceful protest for law and order," Trump said the "nation is going to defeat this terrible China virus, as we call it"–repeating a misconception the virus only spread to the U.S. from China, an assertion which is believed to have exacerbated hate crimes against East Asians.

Trump falsely claimed the virus is "disappearing," despite the fact that the country has seen a 12 percent rise in new cases over the last two weeks, according to the NY Times coronavirus tracker. On Saturday, more than 51,000 cases were added to the NY Times tracker. In NYC, partial shutdowns in Brooklyn and Queens "hotspots" have been implemented to keep the virus from surging to what the city experienced this spring, when hundreds were dying each day.

Meanwhile, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was invited to talk about the outbreak at the White House and across the U.S. on ABC News, but the White House denied the request, ABC reports.

"In fact, they wouldn't allow any of the medical experts on the president's own coronavirus task force to appear on this show," ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl said.

Trump is slated to speak at a campaign event in Sanford, Florida on Monday.