HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — According to a study from Penn State College of Medicine, gun violence is up 30% in the United States and the pandemic has played a major role.
The study states how there are many factors why gun violence went up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some reasons were stay-at-home orders, isolation, social disruption, and more people able to get their hands on firearms.
“One important point is that we do not put one public health crisis against another, we need to instead put more emphasis on both issues at hand,” Anna Ssentongo said.
Ssentongo is an assistant professor of surgery & public health sciences. She says gun violence has been a strong issue during natural disasters, epidemics, to even now a global pandemic.
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“Public health preparedness and disaster relief efforts should consider both initial crisis and the downstream effects from the crisis such as a plausible increase in violence and moreover in gun violence,” Ssentongo said.
Educators say it’s important for public health officials to just not prepare for an initial crisis but also to think about the long-term effects it can leave behind.
For example, the pandemic has caused challenges with limited resources like beds and supplies.
“Space is an issue and our hospital does get full especially with COVID-19 cases and then gun violence on top of that is kinda like a pandemic on top of a pandemic,” Ssentongo said.
Researchers also say if gun violence continues to rise that can stress the health system even more.