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CDC implements gun violence study after naming it a 'public health threat'

After CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced in August that gun violence was a "public health threat," that agency has now implemented a new plan to study it.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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After CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced in August that gun violence was a "public health threat," that agency has now implemented a new plan to study it.

The CDC has undertaken a new study that would dig into how often a person is injured by a firearm in the US. They will discover what kinds of weapons are involved, how they are used, the causes between the shooter and the gunshot victim, and the underlying causes of those altercations.

"I swore to the President and to this country that I would protect your health. This is clearly one of those moments, one of those issues that is harming America's health," Walensky said.

In April, President Joe Biden said that gun violence is a "public health epidemic."

Once the data is gathered, it will be parsed by the CDC to determine what actions they should take to tackle that violence.

As part of this study, the CDC is now providing funding to 10 state health departments so that these departments can provide relevant data in near-real time on emergency room nonfatal firearm injuries.

"This will allow doctors and epidemiologists to potentially identify trends and craft swift interventions, as they have done to contain the coronavirus pandemic and other national health emergencies," wrote NPR.

"Timely state- and local-level data on emergency department visits for nonfatal firearm injuries are currently limited. The collection of near-real-time data on emergency department visits for nonfatal firearm injuries overall and by intent (intentional self-directed, unintentional, and assault-related) can support state and local jurisdictions in identifying and responding to emerging public health problems," the CDC stated.

The CDC noted that these efforts will provide state and local health departments around the nation with tools and methods to rapidly track and respond to firearm injuries.

In August, Walensky announced that for the first time in decades, the CDC would be funding research into gun violence.

The funding was previously stopped in 1997 by Congress, but was restarted under the Trump administration when congress passed spending bills, setting aside $25 million for the CDC and National Institutes of Health to research gun violence, according to Insider.

"Something has to be done about this," said Walensky in August. "Now is the time — it's pedal to the metal time."

According to the CDC, there were 39,707 firearm-related deaths in the United States in 2019. "That's about 109 people dying from a firearm-related injury each day."

The CDC also stated that more people suffer from nonfatal firearm-related injuries than die from gunshots.

"CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) has been the nation's leading public health authority on violence and injury prevention for nearly 30 years. Firearm violence has tremendous impact on the overall safety and wellbeing of Americans. Using a public health approach is essential to addressing firearm violence and keeping people safe and healthy," wrote the CDC.

"CDC's approach to preventing firearm injuries focuses on three elements: providing data to inform action; conducting research and applying science to identify effective solutions; and promoting collaboration across multiple sectors to address the problem," the CDC continued.

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