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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Roughly 94% of Americans surveyed by Hiya, an app that blocks spammers, say they don't pick up the phone for unidentified callers due to the onslaught of robocalls.

Zoom out: State health departments across the U.S. use calls to perform contact tracing, which aims to help slow the spread of the coronavirus by encouraging quarantines and other precautions.

By the numbers: 4 billion robocalls targeted Americans in January alone, according to call-blocking company YouMail.

  • That's 1,500 robocalls every second, or 12.2 calls for every person.

What's new: Pandemic-specific scams have been added to standard swindles about Social Security, auto warranties and credit cards.

Go deeper

2 mins ago - Sports

U.S. gymnast Jade Carey wins Olympic gold in floor exercise final

Jade Carey. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP via Getty Images

American gymnast Jade Carey won Olympic gold in the individual floor exercise final on Monday.

The big picture: Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari won silver and Japan's Mai Murakami and Russian Angelina Melnikova tied for bronze.

Updated 10 mins ago - Sports

Poland grants humanitarian visa to Belarus sprinter

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya of Belarus in 2019. Photo: Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Poland has granted a humanitarian visa to Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, who claims she was taken to the Tokyo airport against her will after criticizing Belarusian coaches, Poland's deputy foreign minister confirmed Monday.

The latest: An activist group called the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation told AP that it had bought Tsimanouskaya a ticket to Warsaw for Aug. 4.

22 mins ago - World

U.S. expands Afghan refugee program as Taliban violence escalates

The American flag is reflected on the windows of the U.S. embassy building in Kabul on July 30, 2021. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department announced Monday it is expanding grants of eligibility for refugee status in the U.S. for at-risk Afghans, citing an increase in violence by the Taliban ahead of the U.S. military's total withdrawal.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has faced pressure to do more to help Afghans who assisted the U.S. military over the course of the two-decade war. The expansion will allow thousands more Afghans and their family members to apply for permanent refugee resettlement, according to the State Department.