The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced its next problem to tackle in America — gun violence.
The CDC, which is the nation’s top public health agency, says gun violence in America is a “serious public health threat.”
“Something has to be done about this,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an exclusive interview with CNN.
“Now is the time — it’s pedal to the metal time,” she added.
In the summer of 2021, CNN says there has been a spree of gun injuries and deaths.
On average, 200 people are killed and 472 others are injured by guns each weekend in the United States. This does not include suicides.
CNN cites an analysis by the Gun Violence Archive for CNN.
“That’s nearly 3.4 people shot every hour every weekend,” CNN writes.
Walensky explains, “The scope of the problem is just bigger than we’re even hearing about, and when your heart wrenches every day you turn on the news, you’re only hearing the tip of the iceberg.”
“We haven’t spent the time, energy and frankly the resources to understand this problem because it’s been so divided.”
Concerning gun violence, Walensky says that she “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.
The CDC plans to focus its efforts to understand “the root causes of gun violence.”
Here’s the CDC’s plan to combat gun violence:
Decades after lobbying pressure and politics all but stopped gun violence research, Walensky’s plan is to restart that research and identify effective solutions.
For example, the CDC is spending $2,224,482 to fund a surveillance mechanism that tracks, in nearly real time, the number of people coming into emergency rooms with nonfatal gunshot wounds. It collects data on the intent of the injury — documenting, for example, whether it was self-inflicted, unintentional or related to an assault.
“We don’t even know who enters the emergency department, in most places, as a result of firearm injury — we don’t even know it,” Walesnky said.
The agency is also spending $8,085,935 on 18 research projects to prevent gun-related violence and injuries.
In one of those projects, gun stores in Colorado have developed a suicide awareness program. So far in 2021, more than 15,700 people in the US have used a gun to end their own lives, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Another project in Vermont educates children about how to safely use and store guns. According to a 2015 study, an estimated 7% of US children — or 4.6 million, at the time — lived with at least one loaded and unlocked gun.