Stylish and compact, these new Canon instant printers make creative pursuits easyRead more Nigerian Law Enforcement agencies open investigations on Hawilti and company executives for criminal breach of trust, cheating, defrauding investors schemeRead more Famine looms in Somalia, but many ‘hunger hotspots’ are in deep troubleRead more Launch of the 3rd Edition of the Choiseul Africa Business Forum, a Must-Attend Event for the Business Community in Africa October 19th & 20th, 2022 in Casablanca, MoroccoRead more World’s Biggest Afrobeats Music Festival Afro Nation Extends Partnership with APO Group until 2025Read more Master Trainer (MT) National Meeting on Sustainable Coffee Practices Organized by The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation in Collaboration with The Sustainable Coffee Platform of Indonesia (SCOPI)Read more Thai Ambassador met the Thai Community in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar and visited the Buddhist Temple in TanzaniaRead more Generation Africa awards US$100,000 to two young agripreneurs from Kenya and Uganda in the fourth annual GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize Competition at the African Green Revolution Forum Summit in Kigali, RwandaRead more Medicaid Cancer Foundation and AstraZeneca celebrate Prostate Cancer Awareness month with the launch of Project Icon NigeriaRead more Eight Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8): President Barrow Discusses Inclusive Development in The Gambia with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant AdministratorRead more

US gun deaths soared in 2020 amid pandemic: CDC

show caption
The number of gun deaths in the United States soared in 2020 against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

May 11, 2022 - 03:30 AM

WASHINGTON — The number of gun deaths in the United States underwent an “historic” increase in 2020, possibly due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and poverty, according to a report by health authorities published Tuesday.

The US racked up 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up nearly 35 percent as compared to 2019, and 24,245 gun suicides (up 1.5 percent), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its report.

The CDC deemed both the murders and suicides by firearm “persistent and significant US public health concerns.”

The firearm homicide rate stood at 6.1 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, the highest for more than 25 years.

The proportion of murders involving guns increased most notably among men, teenagers and young adults, and in African-American and Native American communities, the CDC said.

No region of the United States has been spared, although homicides have risen the most in counties with high poverty rates and large ethnic minority populations.

People also die by suicide more often in poor, non-metropolitan and rural areas.

“One possible explanation is stressors associated with the Covid-19 pandemic that could have played a role” in the rise, said Tom Simons, an expert in violence prevention at the CDC.

“These include changes and disruptions to services and education, social isolation, economic stressors such as job loss, housing instability, and difficulty covering daily expenses,” he told reporters.

The report also notes that the risk of violence is linked to “longstanding systemic inequities and structural racism” in the country.

The report cites tensions between the public and law enforcement, noting the wave of protests in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, spikes in weapons purchases, and a rise in the number of cases of domestic violence.

“Firearm deaths are preventable, not inevitable,” said Debra Houry, director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, recommending “a comprehensive approach focused on reducing inequity.”

She cited the “promising” work of street outreach workers in reducing tensions in high-crime neighborhoods, as well as mediation programs set up in some hospitals to help young people wounded in the streets “break the cycle of violence,” and the work of suicide prevention programs.

Houry also noted the need to address underlying economic factors by offering housing aid or tax credits, and ensuring “livable wages” to lift disadvantaged families out of poverty.

Another avenue being explored is the role of improving the environment, with the creation of green spaces or the cleaning-up of waste lots.

“Revitalized vacant lots in communities have been associated with reduced firearm assault, with particular benefits in areas with the highest poverty,” she said.

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.