Rates of gun violence increased by 30% during pandemic

Rates of gun violence increased by 30% during pandemic
Rates of gun violence increased by 30% during pandemic

There was a sharp rise in gun violence in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, a new study finds.

Researchers from the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, in Hershey, found a 30 percent increase in gun-related injuries and deaths during the pandemic when compared to 2019. 

Additionally, 49 of the 50 states saw a spike in gun violence with only Alaska recording a decrease during the first year of the pandemic.

The team believes stressors caused by the pandemic and the increase in firearm purchases caused the spike in violence.

It comes as violent crime continues to escalate in several cities across the U.S. including New York City and Chicago. 

Researchers found that gun violence increased in almost every state in America, with midwestern states like Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin suffering the largest increases

Researchers found that gun violence increased in almost every state in America, with midwestern states like Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin suffering the largest increases

'The pandemic has yielded harmful ripple effects that need to be addressed,' said Dr Paddy Ssentongo, assistant professor at the Penn State and co-lead author of the study.

'The spike in gun violence in the era of COVID-19 comes as a stark reminder that we can't afford to ignore it any longer. Now is the time to focus on this public health crisis.' 

Researchers, who published their findings Thursday in Scientific Reports, used the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) database for their study.

The GVA is a non-profit organization that tracks gun violence data from across the United States.

The team compared the 13 months from March 2020 - the start of the pandemic - to March 2021 with the 13 months from February 2019 to February 2021.

Researchers split the data into even, two week spans, to find what parts of the year saw the largest surges in gun violence, and also compared violence rates in each state to find which were the most dangerous.

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