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Poll: Mask use drops after CDC relaxes guidelines

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.3% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Vaccinated Americans are easing up on wearing masks — but so are unvaccinated Americans, according to a new Ipsos poll.

Why it matters: The latest findings are an early snapshot of how people are modifying their behavior since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks outside.

The big picture: Overall, 57% of the respondents said they still wear a mask at all times when leaving the house.

  • 24% said they wear masks sometimes but not all the time, 11% said they do occasionally but not often and 8% said they never do.
  • But the share of vaccinated people who reported wearing masks at all times has dropped since mid-April. It's now 63%, down from 74% in the April 16-19 Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index poll.

Between the lines: Vaccinated people are still much more likely to wear masks than unvaccinated people, who are at greater risk of catching or spreading the virus.

  • 47% of unvaccinated Americans say they're wearing masks at all times outside the home, barely dipping from 49% in mid-April.
  • But look atthe growth over the same period of time among unvaccinated Americans who say they occasionally or never wear masks outside the home: a jump from 23% to 34%.

A plurality of respondents gave a thumbs up to the CDC mask guidance, with 43% in favor of relaxed outdoor guidelines and 13% opposed.

  • 22% neither favored nor opposed it, and 21% hadn't heard about it.
  • 53% of respondents say they've gotten either both doses of the two-shot vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) or the single-shot vaccine (Johnson & Johnson), while 13% say they've gotten the first of two doses.
  • Another 11% say they plan to get the vaccine — while 22% say they're unlikely to get it.

The intrigue: The least likely generation to wear masks at all times? Gen X, at 51%. That's compared to 59% of Baby Boomers, 57% of Millennials, and 65% of Gen Z.

Methodology: This poll was conducted April 30-May 3 by Ipsos' KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,022 general population adults age 18 or older.

  • The margin of sampling error is ±3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults.

What to watch at the Olympics today: Gymnastics, golf, 3x3 basketball, swimming

5 events to watch today...

  • 🤸‍♀️ Men’s gymnastics: Team USA’s Sam Mikulak and Brody Malone compete in the individual all-around final. Coverage starts at 6:15 a.m. on Peacock (watch the replay at 8 p.m. ET on NBC)
  • 🏀 3x3 Basketball: The women’s gold medal game between the U.S. and Russia starts at 8:55 a.m. ET on USA Network. Russia and Latvia will play in the men’s final at 9:25 a.m. ET.
  • 🏌️ Men’s golf: Round one tees off at 6:30 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel or stream on
  • 🏊 Swimming: Men’s 800m freestyle, 200m breaststroke and 100m freestyle finals and women’s 200m butterfly final. Coverage starts at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
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National parks "drowning in tourists"

Data: National Park Service; note: Gateway National Recreation Area is excluded due to missing data in 2021. Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

National Parks across the U.S. are overflowing with a post-pandemic crush of tourists, leading to increased issues with congestion, traffic jams, user experience, strain on staff and increased damage to the parks.

Why it matters: Some are seeing such a record number they're being forced to limit, and even close, access to certain areas to avoid the danger of eroding the land. The result, ultimately, could change the way Americans interact with the parks going forward.

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Facebook's next chapter: Build the "metaverse"

Facebook's "next chapter," Mark Zuckerberg says, is to be prime builder of "the metaverse" — an open, broadly distributed, 3D dimension online where, he says, we will all conduct much of our work and personal lives.

The big picture: Zuckerberg admits Facebook will only be one of many companies building this next-generation model of today's internet — but he also intends Facebook to lead the pack.

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CDC asks the vaccinated to help save the unvaccinated from themselves

The Biden administration is essentially asking vaccinated Americans to help save the unvaccinated from themselves.

The big picture: America's "pandemic of the unvaccinated" has gotten bad enough that vaccine mandates are starting to catch on, and masks are coming back — in some cases, even for the vaccinated.

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Least persuadable unvaccinated Americans are largely white and Republican

Data: Axios-Ipsos Poll; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The most hardcore opponents of coronavirus vaccination — the group who say they'll never get one — tend to be older, whiter and more Republican than the unvaccinated Americans who are still persuadable, according to an analysis of our Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: As the Delta variant triggers more COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, mostly among the unvaccinated, the Biden administration and even some high-profile GOP political and media figures are trying to figure out how to nudge the country's vaccination rate higher.

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Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Female Olympians in Tokyo are rejecting the uniforms that have long defined their sports, highlighting a double standard that exists how women dress in competition vs. men.

Driving the news: During their qualifying round Sunday, Germany's women's gymnastics team wore full-length unitards, eschewing the conventional leg-barring leotards worn by most female gymnasts.

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Simone Biles won't defend Olympic title at gymnastics all-around final in Tokyo

U.S. gymnastics great Simone Biles won't defend her Olympic title in the upcoming all-around final as she continues to focus on her mental health, USA Gymnastics announced Wednesday.

After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many.

— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 28, 2021

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

DOJ declines to defend Mo Brooks in Eric Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit

The Department of Justice declined late Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a civil lawsuit against the Georgia congressman concerning the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Brooks had argued he should have immunity in the suit, filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) against him, former President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the insurrection. He said he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a rally before the insurrection.

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