In addition to the economic and political strain brought on by the pandemic, mayors in some of the U.S. largest cities are also in a battle with increasing gun violence. Despite citywide lockdowns and safety mandates, cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, have experienced an alarming increase in shootings and fatalities this year. According to a Wall Street Journal review of crime statistics, reported homicides were up 24% this year in the nation’s 50 largest cities. And much like the pandemic, those shootings are disproportionately impacting communities of color.
From January to the end of July, New York City has recorded 777 shootings, more than it had in the calendar year of 2019. More than 1,000 shootings have happened in Philadelphia so far this year, resulting in more than 240 deaths.
And in Chicago, 2,240 people have been shot through the first seven months of 2020. Gun violence has claimed 440 lives. During the same period last year, there were 150 less gun deaths and 760 less shootings in Chicago.
The WSJ analysis finds that “the rise in killings is a bipartisan problem.” Despite Trump placing the blame for rising violence on Democratic leaders, deaths have doubled in most cities run by Republican leaders, including Miami, San Diego, Omaha, Tulsa and Jacksonville.
“It only gets worse from here,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant. “As the shootings continue, so will retaliation. It’s a vicious cycle that the NYPD worked hard to mitigate, but that they are no longer able and, in some cases, willing to do.”
The problem of gun violence is top-of-mind to many city leaders. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an “End Gun Violence Plan” last month, but critics have denounced the plan for its lack of specifics. And in Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has called for common-sense gun legislation from national leaders.
The reason behind the uptick in gun violence is not entirely clear, but some attribute the problem to the long-standing issue of poverty that has been worsened by the pandemic. Last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made this observation that received much backlash. “Republicans are all upset that I’m connecting the dots between poverty and crime. I know most of them haven’t experienced or seen these issues firsthand, but I have. This may be hard for them to admit, but poverty and crime are highly linked, both violent & nonviolent alike.”
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
Negotiations roll on in talks among lawmakers for the next coronavirus relief bill and neither side is budging. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Tuesday that she’s still aiming to agree on a deal this week but made clear that she won’t negotiate on the price proposed by her party.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose plan tops out at roughly $1 trillion, blames Democrats for the delay of aid, calling inaction on the bill a “charade” that is obstructing any action for the country.
California, Florida, Texas and New York have each recorded more than 400,000 coronavirus infections. California, with more than half a million infections, accounts for the most in the nation. Florida is close behind with 491,000 recorded infections as of Tuesday. At least 13 states have reported more than 100,000 cases.
Ten thousand. That’s the number of daily coronavirus cases that the U.S. needs to get to by September to gain control over the pandemic, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said Monday. The country now reports 50,000 to 60,000 new cases each day.
“If we don’t get them down, then we’re going to have a really bad situation in the fall,” Fauci said during an interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dr. Fauci warns that the normal flu season, combined with cooler weather, forcing people indoors, can exacerbate the coronavirus problem.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reports that for the third straight day, New York City saw no Covid-19 related deaths. Three people died from the virus across the state on Monday.
The NFL and the players’ association have agreed on new safety rules aimed at keeping players safe during the upcoming season. Failure of players to abide by the new rules can result in fines of up to $50,000.
New rules include daily testing, wearing face coverings when players are not playing or practicing and wearing proximity recording devices that warn players when they are too close to others.
The league also outlined “high risk” behavior that may result in a fine or suspension on the first violation. Behaviors include attending indoor bars or nightclubs with more than 10 people and without personal protective equipment, gatherings of more than 15 people unless the player and all guests are wearing masks, and attending indoor music concerts.