This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Wednesday, June 17th, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.

New York City is in Phase 1 of reopening now. Here's 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.

2 p.m. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will end his streak of daily briefings on the coronavirus crisis. After Friday, he will conduct them instead on an as-needed basis.

“We will turn the page on the immediacy of this crisis," Cuomo said Wednesday, which marked the governor's 109th day of consecutive press conferences.

Cuomo had hinted on Monday in an interview with WAMC's Alan Chartock that he might stop the daily briefings, saying that the low level of cases would make them unnecessary.

As New York became the epicenter of the pandemic, the governor's daily press conferences were broadcast nationally on cable television, making Cuomo the most visible politician of the crisis. Early on, his emphasis on data, anecdotes about his family, and sermons on courage and finding the common good drew praise from elected officials and celebrities alike. He appeared regularly on MSNBC and CNN, and was also a fawned-over guest on Ellen and the nightly talk shows.

Cuomo's decision to end his daily press appearances will also conveniently relieve him of having to face the increasingly critical questions he has been asked about his handling of the outbreaks. New York has recorded more than 24,600 coronavirus deaths, a staggering number that still does not include probable fatalities.

The governor has defended his policies and instead deflected blame to the federal government, as well as national and global public health agencies like the World Health Organization for failing to sound the alarm about the pandemic.

"We have saved tens of thousands of lives in New York," Cuomo said on Wednesday. "That is more important than any of this other stuff."

New York has continued to post low overall infection rates even as the state gradually reopens. Out of more than 59,000 tests performed statewide on Tuesday, only .96 percent or 567 came back positive. There are now 761 in hospitals, down from a frightening peak of 12,000.

Deaths from the virus have also continued to decline, with the latest new number of new deaths at 17 yesterday.

On Wednesday, Cuomo also announced that New York City was on track on to phase 2 of the reopening plan on Monday, June 21st, 14 days after it entered phase one. Meanwhile, Westchester and Rockland County as well as the mid-Hudson region will enter phase three on Tuesday, June 23rd, and Long Island will do so on Wednesday, June 24th.

De Blasio Says He Tested Negative For COVID-19

11:00 a.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday revealed that he has tested negative for coronavirus.

The news was announced on Twitter by his press secretary Freddi Goldstein.

The mayor had initially refused to get tested after missing a press briefing on Monday because of "gastrointestinal symptoms." Diarrhea and vomiting are among the official symptoms of coronavirus.

"Based on what he is experiencing, the mayor does not believe there’s a need to be tested," Goldstein said, when asked whether the mayor would take a test.

De Blasio, who has been in regular contact with large groups of people, had previously put off getting tested even as he urged all New Yorkers to do so themselves. Widespread testing is seen as the key to reopening the city safely. De Blasio has said he wants to expand the city's daily testing capacity from roughly 20,000 to 50,000 people by July.

The mayor's resistance to getting tested was in sharp contrast with other government officials. Governor Andrew Cuomo was tested in May during a press briefing. Several mayors in other cities have also said they have been tested.

During his press conference on Wednesday, the mayor was asked how he was able to get his test result back so quickly when it has typically taken several days.

The city is yet to develop a rapid test method for the public, although it is now performing a less invasive test using a shorter nasal swab.

De Blasio said he was notified this morning. While he said he did not know the details of how the results were processed, he suggested the turnover may have been expedited.

"In light of the concern obviously about everyone I've come in contact with and the need to get an answer speedily in this case, they got me results in a quick manner," he said.

Nine U.S. States Set Records For New Cases, Beijing Goes Under Partial Lockdown

Nine states have set record highs for the single-day or seven-day average number of new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas are among 20 states that are seeing the number of new cases grow over the last two weeks.

Some government officials have attributed the rise in new cases to increased testing capacity, although epidemiologists have pointed out that other indicators, namely the increase in hospitalizations, suggest growing community transmission. Texas, for example, has reported the highest daily number of patients hospitalized due to the coronavirus for four days days in a row. Over all, at least a dozen states saw hospitalizations climb after Memorial Day.

Meanwhile, in China, where many had thought the worst of the pandemic was behind them, government officials are partially locking down the country's capital by canceling flights and shutting down schools once again. The new restrictions in Beijing come after 137 cases linked to a food market were reported. Although the number of infections is relatively small, nearly 30 neighborhoods near food markets have gone into a strict lockdown, where residents are not being allowed to go outside, even for groceries.

One Beijing official likened the situation to a “wartime emergency mode."

The city, which has a population of 21.5 million, has added more than a hundred new testing booths. On Sunday, more than 70,000 Beijing residents were reportedly tested.

Here in the U.S., government leaders have played down the rising number of new cases. In an op-ed published on Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal, Vice President Mike Pence accused the media of spreading fear and called the panic of a second wave "overblown."

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican ally of the Trump administration, said Tuesday he would not pull back on the state's reopening despite the record numbers of new cases—and the growing rate of positive cases.

Florida’s Department of Health is not releasing the latest statewide hospitalization data to the public.

“We’re not shutting down. We’re going to go forward ... We’re not rolling back,” DeSantis said during a press conference. “You have to have society function.”