Gov. Asa Hutchinson arrives Monday afternoon for the coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock. More photos at arkansa- sonline.com/77govbrief/. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/John Sykes Jr.) Hospitals rapidly approached capacity across the Sun Belt, and the Miami area moved to close restaurants and gyms again because of the surging coronavirus Monday as the U.S. emerged from a Fourth of July weekend of picnics, pool parties and beach outings that health officials fear could fuel the outbreak.
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The seesaw effect — restrictions lifted, then reimposed — has been seen around the country in recent weeks and is expected to continue after a holiday that saw crowds of people celebrating, many without masks.
"We were concerned before the weekend and remain concerned post-holiday, as anecdotal stories and observed behavior indicate that many continue to disregard important protective guidance," said Heather Woolwine, a spokeswoman for the Medical University of South Carolina. The White House again rejected calls for a nationwide order to wear face coverings, with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows saying on Fox News that it is a matter for governors and mayors to decide. He said that "certainly a national mandate is not in order."
Confirmed cases are on the rise in 41 states plus the District of Columbia, and the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus is increasing in 39 states.
Florida, which recorded a high of 11,400 new cases Saturday and has seen its positive test rate top 18%, […]