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Child Deaths by Gun Violence in the US During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

In addition to direct effects on health, the COVID-19 pandemic has had indirect effects through stress and economic hardships imposed by mitigation efforts such as lockdowns. For children, the indirect health outcomes may be comparable with direct effects, because SARS-CoV-2–related morbidity and mortality are concentrated at older ages.

One potential indirect health outcome for children is gun-related deaths owing to increased psychological strain in families in combination with school closures, which lead to greater time spent by children at home, where guns are often kept. Although studies have documented increased gun-related deaths during the pandemic, only few studies have considered children and those focused on early stages of the pandemic.14

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Accepted for Publication: June 19, 2022.

Published: August 4, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.25339

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2022 Peña PA et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115 (jena@hcp.med.harvard.edu).

Author Contributions: Dr Peña had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: All authors.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: All authors.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: All authors.

Supervision: Jena.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Jena reported receiving consulting fees from Bioverativ, Merck/Sharp/Dohme, Janssen, Edwards Life Sciences, Novartis, Amgen, Eisai, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Celgene, Sanofi Aventis, Precision Health Economics, and Analysis Group outside the submitted work; Dr Jena also reported receiving income from hosting the podcast Freakonomics, M.D., and from book rights to Doubleday Books outside the submitted work. No other disclosures were reported.

References
1.
Ashby  MPJ .  Initial evidence on the relationship between the coronavirus pandemic and crime in the United States.   Crime Sci. 2020;9(1):6. doi:10.1186/s40163-020-00117-6PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Peña  PA , Jena  A .  Mass shootings in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic.   JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(9):e2125388. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.25388PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
3.
Donnelly  MR , Grigorian  A , Swentek  L ,  et al.  Firearm violence against children in the United States: trends in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.   J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2022;92(1):65-68. doi:10.1097/TA.0000000000003347PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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Cohen  JS , Donnelly  K , Patel  SJ ,  et al.  Firearms injuries involving young children in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.   Pediatrics. 2021;148(1):e2020042697. doi:10.1542/peds.2020-042697PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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GVA. Gun Violence Archive. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/
6.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Provisional COVID-19 Deaths by Sex and Age. Published 2022. Accessed April 28, 2022. https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Deaths-Focus-on-Ages-0-18-Yea/nr4s-juj3/data
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