CDC's Walensky: Gun Violence 'Serious Public Health Threat'

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - 7:15am

For the first time in decades, the director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is speaking out forcefully about gun violence, calling it a "serious public health threat." "Something has to be done about this," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky tells CNN. "Now is the time -- it's pedal to the metal time." This summer alone has seen a wave of gun injuries and deaths, and the weekends have been especially violent, with an average of 200 people killed and 472 injured by guns each weekend, not including suicides, says the Gun Violence Archive. That's nearly 3.4 people shot every hour every weekend.

"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," Walensky said. "We haven't spent the time, energy and frankly the resources to understand this problem because it's been so divided." The last sitting CDC director to make strong public statements about gun violence was Dr. David Satcher, who served from 1993 to 1998.

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