Sharp increase in gun deaths in young Black men since start of pandemic, CDC says

ATLANTA — The number of deadly shootings seems to have skyrocketed in Atlanta since the start of the pandemic.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the problem is not just a local one.

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The CDC said in a new report that gun violence has increased dramatically in the U.S. since the pandemic began in 2020. The problem only seems to be getting worse.

More than 19,000 people were killed by guns in 2022, compared to 14,000 in 2021.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston was in northwest Atlanta, where he worked to find out why there has been such a dramatic increase in gun violence.

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The CDC suggests that it could be issues related to COVID-19, since so many people have lost their jobs and housing and it’s been difficult for many to make ends meet.

According to the CDC, homicides from gun violence jumped 35% the first year of the pandemic.

“This is a historic increase with it’s rate reaching the highest level in over 25 years,” CDC officials said on a conference call Tuesday morning.

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The CDC said the increase has been across the board for all ages, races and communities, but there was a sharp increase for young Black men. They were 21 times more likely to die of gun violence than White men.

“Black men and boys ages 10 to 44 already had the highest firearm rate,” officials said. “This group saw the largest increase.”

Scientists said they don’t know the exact reason for the increase, but suspect COVID-19 played a role. Job loss, social isolation and housing concerns could be reasons for the gun violence.

Doctors said support from state agencies will help fight the violence, but also, charities like attorney Mawuli Davis’ ‘Let Us Make Men’ program that works to show young people guns aren’t the answer could help.

“Our intention is to gather these young people and let them see that there are people who love them and care about them and support the undergirding that they need to be successful in life,” Davis said.

Davis is hosting an event this Saturday to work to stop gun violence. He’s asking Black men to meet at Atlanta’s CT Martin Recreation Center to spread love in the community.