2020 was the year with the most deaths in America. COVID-19 has claimed more than 700,000. Gun violence is at an all-time high.
Researchers are unsure if these crises are linked. However, they suspect that the stress and stay-at home measures caused a culture of stress, substance abuse, domestic violence, and increased access to firearms. This may have led to more violent crime, as well as firearm-related suicides.
A nationwide analysis of media reports and police has confirmed that gun violence rose by 30% between March 2020 and March 2021.
The pandemic began in 28 states, and the rise of gun violence coincided with the outbreak. The rate rose by more than 100 per cent in New York, Minnesota, and Michigan.
Pennsylvania had one of the highest homicide rates in the US. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, saw more homicides in 2020 than any time in the past 30.
Only Alaska, the only state that saw an increase in gun violence in the country, was affected by the pandemic.
The authors state that while stay-at-home and social distancing measures can be vital in containing the spread of COVID 19, it is important to be aware of unintended socio-economic stressors that could lead to gun violence.
Public health experts warned about a rise in domestic violence and violent crime since the outbreak of the pandemic. Now, they are realizing their worst fears.
Pandemic stress and an increase in gun sales may have exacerbated the crisis of gun violence, adding pressure to an already overburdened public health system.
Paddy Ssentongo, a physician-scientist from Pennsylvania, stated that "[It is] a] collision between two epidemics in America."
It will put greater strain on healthcare services. Because there will be competition, patients won't get the services they require.
Gun sales appear to be a major problem. The report by Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit organization, revealed that Americans bought 22 million guns in 2020. This is a 64 percent increase on 2019.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System data revealed that there was a 34% increase in firearm checks between February and March 2020.
A 2019 study showed that for every 10 per cent increase in household gun ownership there was a 13 per cent increase in domestic firearm homicides. It's not surprising that domestic violence spiked last yea due to these sales.
Everytown discovered that the number of children unintentionally killed or shot by guns in their homes and families with stay-at-home orders has increased nearly three-fold since 2019.
Children and teens in America today are 15 times more likely than children in high-income countries to be killed by gunfire. These statistics seem to be getting worse with the pandemic.
It's not just children who have been affected by the fallout from the global pandemic and rising gun sales. Gun-related domestic violence is particularly dangerous for women, just as it is for children.
As people seek to flee their abusers, domestic violence shelters have become overwhelmed. Initial data shows that domestic violence rose by 8.1% after stay-at home orders were implemented.
A woman who has an abusive partner and has access to guns is five times more likely than a woman to die from their care. A state that prohibits domestic abusers from getting guns has 13 percent less partner homicides.
"Gun violence is an epidemic in public health that is often ignored." "The new data analysis authors write that the spike in gun violence during the COVID-19 epidemic is a stark reminder of how we cannot afford not to address it."
"Unlike the COVID-19 epidemic, which still poses a low risk of death for children and young adults," the threat of being shot to death is much more serious in this population.
COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to American life. These epidemics must be addressed.
Scientific Reports published the study.