Gun violence has been one of the leading causes of death among children in the United States for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it the number one cause of death while racial disparities widen. bottom.
Between 2015 and early 2020, before the pandemic, black children in four major US cities were 27 times more likely to be shot than white children. But one study found that between 2020 and the end of 2021, black children were 100 times more likely to be shot than white children. New Research at JAMA Network OpenThe study examined data on firearm attacks from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
The study also found that Hispanic children were about 26 times more likely to be gunned down than white children during the pandemic, from a relative risk of 8.6 times before the health emergency. Asian children are nearly four times more likely than white children to be shot, up from a relative risk of 1.4 times before the pandemic.
While the incidence of mass shootings among white children did not change during the pandemic, health emergencies were associated with a two-fold increase in firearm injuries among children overall. 503.5 more gunshot wounds than in the absence of the pandemic, Boston University study authors estimate.
Gun injuries were on the rise for years before the pandemic. But in 2020, it will overtake car crashes and cancer as the leading cause of death among children in the United States. The increase will continue through 2021, according to new analysis.
The evidence isn’t clear as to why the pandemic fostered gun violence and racial disparity, but the authors of the new study hypothesize that community context plays a role.
“Our results are broadly consistent with studies that have identified sharp increases in pandemic-related violence in areas with less racial and economic privilege,” the researchers wrote. “Possible explanations include exacerbated inequalities in health, employment and access to educational resources due to COVID-19.”
In the wake of last year’s shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 21 people, including 19 students ages 7 to 10, medical groups have called for action to reduce gun injuries and deaths. It called for a new strategy based on common sense and evidence. as a child. These include universal background checks, bans on people convicted of domestic violence from owning guns, licensing laws, restrictions on carrying concealed firearms in public, and gun safety education. , and assault weapon restrictions were included.
“Our mission as physicians is to heal and maintain health. But the wounds we see in America today too often resemble the wounds I saw in war,” he said. Medical Association President Gerald Harmon said in a statement.Time. The AMA declared gun violence a public health crisis in 2016.
American Academy of Pediatrics President Moira Shiraghi also called for more to be done to address the public health crisis.”When will we as a nation stand up for all these children? Ultimately, what will it take for government leaders to do something meaningful to protect our children?” she wrote in a statement. “AAP called on the federal government to increase funding for research on gun violence prevention and common-sense laws that protect everyone in our communities.”
The authors of the new study also call for efforts to “target systemic racism as an underlying factor in the prevalence of firearms violence in the United States.”