Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the United States has the highest rate of gun-related deaths in more than 25 years.

As an emergency physician in the United States for nearly 20 years, Houry said it was a “recurring occurrence” of treating young adults in the emergency room for gunshot injuries. They would often “bleed” on it because it was refreshing them.

Then she searches the hospital for a clean white coat to wear “so that I would appear respectful and cool to talk to their families — or to someone who survived, but then got paralyzed or traumatized as a result,” Houry said.

The death rate associated with firearms in the United States appears to be getting worse.

The U.S. firearms homicide rate in 2020 was the highest since 1994, according to data published Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where Houry currently works as a Acting Deputy Principal Head of the National Center for Injury Prevention.

Between 2019 and 2020, the overall rate of firearm homicides increased by about 35%, according to new data in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Disease and Mortality Weekly Report.

“The COVID-19 pandemic may have exacerbated existing social and economic pressures that increase the risk of homicide and suicide, particularly among some racial and ethnic communities,” the CDC researchers wrote in their report.

“Increases in gun homicides and consistently high suicide rates with firearms in 2020, combined with increases among populations already at high risk, have widened inequalities and increased the urgency of actions that can have immediate and lasting benefits.”

In 2020, 79% of all murders and 53% of all suicides involved firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, somewhat higher than during the previous five years.

Firearms homicides rise, suicide rates remain unchanged

CDC researchers examined data on gun deaths from the agency’s national vital statistics systems and the National Center for Health Statistics, while also looking closely at county-level and US Census Bureau data on poverty.

The researchers found that during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the US counties with the highest poverty level had gun homicide and gun suicide rates 4.5 and 1.3 times higher, respectively, as did the counties with the lowest poverty level.

“That’s a big deal for me,” Houry said. “Because if we’re going to look where the intervention is, it’s going to be in a lot of these poor communities.”

From 2019 to 2020, the overall firearm homicide rate increased from 4.6 deaths to 6.1 deaths per 100,000 people nationwide, according to the new data. But this increase was not evenly distributed, revealing the widening disparities in homicides.

The data showed that the largest increases in 2020 occurred among boys and black men aged 10 to 44 and American Indian or Alaska Native men aged 25 to 44.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s findings on the firearm homicide rate are tracking closely with the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, released in September of last year.

FBI data shows a 29.4% increase in homicides between 2019 and 2020 The biggest leap the agency has ever recorded. The UCR recorded a homicide rate in the United States at 6.5 per 100,000 people. The report also stated that homicides are increasingly being carried out by firearms, noting that about 77% of homicides reported in 2020 were committed with a handgun, up from 74% in 2019. There is no federal database of gun sales, but independent surveys Others have found that arms sales have surged during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, in their new report, CDC researchers found that the overall rate of firearm suicide among people age 10 and older remained roughly its level between 2019 and 2020, rising only slightly from 7.9 to 8.1 deaths per 100. A person.

“Although the overall firearm suicide rate remained relatively unchanged between 2019 and 2020, young people and some racial/ethnic minority groups experienced an increase in firearm suicides,” the researchers wrote in their report.

The largest increase occurred among American Indians and Alaska Natives, resulting in the group having the highest rate of suicide using firearms as of 2020.

The data in the report did not include information on the specific type of firearms used. “Often this information is not included on the death certificate. When it is included, the most common type of firearm is a handgun,” Thomas Simon, associate director for science in the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention, told reporters during a call on Tuesday. “.

“When I went to medical school, it wasn’t something we talked about”

In an opinion paper with Simon and Dr. Alexander Crosby published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA, Houry wrote that gun violence is a “significant public health problem.”

Escalating gun violence during the epidemic increases pressure on overburdened hospitals

In their paper, they note that physicians can play a role in talking to patients about gun safety, but medical schools often do not integrate firearm safety, violence prevention, and social determinants of health into their curricula.

“When I got into medical school, it wasn’t something we talked about or rehearsed,” Houry said. “I didn’t start thinking about it until I saw its consequences.”

K Student at medical college In the late 1990s, Houry knew that gun violence was a problem in America. “But I don’t think I knew the size nor do I think I realized the personal impact it would have on me and my patients,” she said.
In their JAMA paper, Houry and colleagues refer to a Survey of more than 1,000 family physicians which found nearly half, 46%, of family physicians reported having had no training in firearm safety counseling and nearly two-thirds, 68%, did not feel familiar with the discussion of firearm safe storage devices,

“But those with formal training were more likely to report a higher level of comfort when patients were asked about firearm ownership,” Houry said. “For me, it’s about making sure that clinicians understand their role and then have the tools for what to do.”

“We need to know how to remove conflict in our society”

Communities can also use this new data on gun deaths to consider interventions to reduce violence.

“Supporting child care can reduce stress and prevent violence,” Houry said. “We have also funded research on greening initiatives as to where you can go and make a vacant lot look better by planting weeds and trees. It has been proven that Reduce firearm attacks by up to 29% in poor areas.

The CDC currently funds 18 two-year research projects on gun violence. “With recent congressional approvals over the past two years, we have been able to fund 18 promising projects looking at innovations to prevent gun violence,” Houry told reporters during a call on Tuesday.

The escalating homicide rate in the United States is a troubling public health threat in the country — but it’s not surprising, says Dr. George Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, For CNN last year.

He said the rise in homicides has occurred in parallel with the recent rise in public violence, hatred, tensions, political divisions and anger that has emerged in communities across the country.

“We see it literally in front of our eyes — at school board meetings and public events,” Benjamin said.

“People seem to have lost all civility, and then you combine that with the need to stay home, the stress that comes with it, the loss of your job, the loss of resources, the fear for your health, and more weapons,” he said. “I think we need to figure out how to de-conflict our society.”

CNN’s Brenda Goodman and Priya Krishnakumar contributed to this report.