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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Data: Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index polling data since March 2020; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Turns out that wearing a mask and social distancing really weren't a waste of time.

Driving the news: Exclusive polling data from our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index, which started in March 2020, shows that the respondents who reported never wearing masks were twice as likely to test positive for COVID as those who said they wore masks all the time.

By the numbers: Just 11% of people who reported always wearing masks outside the home tested positive for COVID — compared to 23% of those who said they never wore masks.

  • That's even though people who wore masks all the time got tested more regularly than those who didn't.
  • 30% of people who wore masks at all times reported getting tested for COVID, compared to 23% who wore masks sometimes, 20% of those who wore them occasionally but not often and 12% of those who never wore them.

Between the lines: When a group of people is getting tested less often than others, but has a higher positive rate, there's a good chance that there are other sick people who are being missed.

The pattern was similar for social distancing. Just 10% of people who said they kept a six-foot distance from other people at all times tested positive for COVID, compared to 26% of people who said they never did.

  • 12% of people who said they sometimes kept a six-foot distance tested positive, as did 20% of those who said they social distanced occasionally but not often.
  • There was less variation in testing rates in this group: 26% of people who always social distanced got tested for COVID, compared to 27% of people who did so sometimes, 28% of those who did so occasionally but not often, and 23% of those who never did.

Go deeper

10 hours ago - Health

European Union surpasses the U.S. in COVID-19 vaccinations

A line of people wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències de Valencia, on July 28, 2021. Photo: Rober Solsona/Europa Press via Getty Images

The member states of the European Union together have administered more coronavirus vaccine doses per 100 people than the United States, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The new figures highlight the pace at which the 27 member states of the E.U. are vaccinating their citizens, and stand in stark contrast to the speed of vaccinations in the U.S., which has stagnated.

9 hours ago - Health

Israel to offer third COVID vaccine dose to people over 60

A woman receives her third dose of COVID19 vaccine at Sheba Medical Center on July 14, 2021 in Israel. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israel will begin offering a third shot of the coronavirus vaccine to people over the age of 60 starting Sunday, Haaretz reports.

Why it matters: Israel will become the first country to begin giving booster shots, per Haaretz. The country will offer doses to those over 60 who received their second dose at least five months ago.

13 hours ago - Health

The billion-dollar COVID booster discussion

A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could add billions of dollars in extra revenue for Pfizer. Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pfizer said yesterday that it expects to sell nearly $34 billion worth of coronavirus vaccines this year — and there could be billions more behind that, if people who have gotten the shot ultimately need boosters.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether, when and for whom a coronavirus vaccine booster will be necessary. Pfizer has a lot of money riding on those answers, and executives are already making the case that many Americans will need a third dose.