THURSDAY, March 30, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Emergency department visits for firearm injuries were higher during 2020, 2021, and 2022 than 2019, according to research published in the March 31 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Marissa L. Zwald, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program to examine changes in emergency department visits for initial firearm injury encounters during January 2019 to December 2022.
The researchers identified increases in the overall weekly number of firearm injury emergency department visits at certain periods, including a gradual increase in March 2020, coinciding with the declaration of COVID-19 as a national emergency and a decrease in the total number of emergency department visits. In late May 2020, there was also an increase in firearm injury emergency department visits, concurrent with a period marked by public outcry relating to social injustice and structural racism, changes in COVID-19-specific prevention strategies, reduced engagement in COVID-19 mitigation strategies, and reported increases in crime. The average number of weekly emergency department visits for firearm injury was 37, 36, and 20 percent higher in 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively, compared with 2019.
"A comprehensive approach is needed to prevent and respond to firearm injuries and address the social and economic inequities that contribute to the risk for violence," the authors write.