This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Monday, November 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. Certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens are under a zoned shutdown. Get answers to questions you may have with our "Ask An Epidemiologist" series, or learn more about NYC 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.

Here's the latest:

12:15 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said that the average number of new coronavirus cases over the last seven days was 593, marking the third day in a row that the level rose above the city’s warning threshold.

The latest number reflects tests performed in the city on October 31st. On October 29th, the average new caseload rose to 605. It was the first time the level of new cases had surpassed 600 since June 1st, when the number rose to 622.

Mayor de Blasio had previously set 550 cases as a cautionary level to consider as the city reopened.

In the month of October, the average daily caseload has exceeded 550 at least eight times, according to a tally of the latest data on the city's Department of Health website.

Despite that, the mayor has not said he would take any actions, citing the relative low number of hospitalizations as well as a test positivity rate that is still relatively low. The latest daily test positivity rate was 2.08%, but de Blasio noted that the rolling seven day average was lower, that of 1.81%

The latest trend, while still only three days, is a worrying sign given the fact that virus cases are now spreading more widely across the city. According to a Gothamist analysis, 67 ZIP codes out of 177 citywide now have an average testing positivity rate over 2%. Sixteen of those ZIP codes are above 3%.

A month ago, the city's data showed only 20 ZIP codes with average positivities higher than 2% and only eight above 3%.

During his morning press conference, de Blasio said that some of the increase could be due to expanded testing.

Nonetheless, he added: "We’re keeping a very close eye on the situation."

U.S. Cases Keep Climbing As Trump Threatens To Fire Fauci

Trump at a campaign rally at Opa-Locka Executive Airport.

Trump at a campaign rally at Opa-Locka Executive Airport.

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Trump at a campaign rally at Opa-Locka Executive Airport.
Jim Rassol/AP/Shutterstock

In what is looking more and more like a repeat of the spring, coronavirus cases are continuing to climb across the United States, straining hospitals in at least nine states, and leading the country's top infectious disease to issue his most dire warning yet about the fall.

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Anthony Fauci, the most prominent member of the White House coronavirus task force, told the Washington Post in an interview published late Saturday. “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

The United States recorded a seven-day average of more than 80,000 cases on Sunday, the highest to date, according to data collected by the COVID Tracking Project. Deaths have not spiked as they did in the spring, which experts have attributed to various factors including better treatment options and more precautions taken by the elderly and most vulnerable. But fatalities are still rising: there are now more than 800 deaths in the U.S. over a seven-day average, compared to around 500 in July.

Alaska, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Utah all reported record high hospitalizations, according to the Washington Post.

In Ohio, current hospitalizations have exceeded 1,600, after falling below 600 around the end of September. The COVID Tracking Project reported that cases in nursing homes and long-term care facilities had also reached record highs in Ohio and several other states.

In his interview with the Post, Fauci said the country could surpass 100,000 cases a day and predicted that deaths would continue to rise in the coming weeks.

He also revealed that the White House coronavirus task force has met less frequently, with himself and another high profile member Deborah Birx no longer having regular access to President Donald Trump. “Right now, the public health aspect of the task force has diminished greatly," he said.

The last time he spoke to the president, he said, was when the latter called him when he was recovering with coronavirus at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The conversation, however, was not about policy.

Trump hit back at Fauci during a Saturday evening rally that drew thousands, many without masks, and went past midnight. The president's remarks featured what has become his customary grumblings about media coverage of the virus, which he has falsely maintained has been exaggerated.

As the crowd chanted “Fire Fauci! Fire Fauci!," he suggested that he might fire Fauci after the election on Tuesday.

But as CNN reported back in July, Trump does not technically have the authority to fire Fauci. While he could pressure political appointees to remove him, Fauci could also appeal and argue that the move was done without just cause.