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Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Americans — and a noticeably increasing number of Republicans — say they’re wearing a face mask whenever they leave the house, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: A weakening partisan divide over masks, and a broad-based increase in the number of people wearing them, would be a welcome development as most of the country tries to beat back a rapidly growing outbreak.

By the numbers: 62% of those surveyed said they’re wearing a mask “all the time” when they leave the house — up from 53% when we asked the same question two weeks ago.

  • The biggest jump was among Republicans: 45% say they’re wearing a mask all the time, up from 35% at the end of June.
  • Even though it’s narrowing, there’s still a big partisan divide: 95% of Democrats say they wear a mask some or all of the time outside the house, compared with 74% of Republicans.

Between the lines: These numbers may seem high — do two-thirds of the people you pass on the street have a mask on? But the fact that more people are claiming to wear them is at least a sign that masks are increasingly seen as important.

  • Among people who said they wear a mask sometimes, 32% reported that they’ve been denied entry into an establishment because they weren’t wearing one, and 21% said someone else has told them to put one on.
  • 15% said they’ve told someone else to put on a mask.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

CDC changes "close contact" guidance for COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Noam Galai, Jamie McCarthy, Josep LAGO / AFP, Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP, and Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto, all via Getty Images

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its definition of who is considered a “close contact” of an individual infected with the coronavirus in a report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: The update is likely to pose challenges for schools, workplaces and other group settings as the U.S. prepares for a third coronavirus wave. It also reinforces the importance of masks in the face of President Trump’s repeated attempts to belittle their efficacy.

Oct 21, 2020 - Health

New York reports most coronavirus cases since May

Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an Oct. 6 press briefing. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York reported over 2,000 positive coronavirus cases on Wednesday — the most infections seen in the state since May, per COVID Tracking Project (CTP) and health department data.

The big picture: Hospitalizations have been creeping back up in New York, alongside 38 other states. New York is currently seeing more than 900 hospitalizations a day, the CTP reports.