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This Became the Leading Cause of Death for American Children During the Pandemic

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

New reporting from The New York Times dives into public health data that shows a concerning trend when it comes to causes of death for America's children, one that coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic and spiked through the first year of lockdowns and COVID-caused chaos that's been accompanied by a general spike in violent crime.


"As the pandemic spread across the United States in 2020, the number of children who were killed rose precipitously," the Times reported, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The rate of child homicide in the United States rose by about 28 percent in 2020, from 2.2 per 100,000 in 2019 to 2.8 per 100,000 in 2020," they explained.

That rate of death for America's children means that, in a chilling reality, "homicide is the leading cause of death among American children, making the United States an outlier among similarly developed nations, where car accidents, cancer and other illnesses and injuries are the top causes of death," the Times added. 

More on what researchers found about the surge in child homicides: 

Overall, older children and boys of all ages were more likely to be victims of gun violence than younger children and girls. The C.D.C. found a decline in homicide rates overall among girls, infants and children under 6 as well as among white children, Asian or Pacific Islander children and children in the Northeast.

Homicides of younger children often occur in or near the home and are most commonly perpetrated by parents and caregivers. The homicides often are linked to child abuse and neglect and reflect the stresses experienced by families, said Dr. Elinore J. Kaufman, a trauma surgeon at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and a co-author of the editorial accompanying the homicide study.


Older children and teenagers, on the other hand, were more likely to be killed in altercations with acquaintances or strangers in public places, she noted. Guns are more likely to be involved in these killings, and the violence reflects the deprivation that disproportionately affects Black people and other communities of color.


In addition to many other collateral damages that came as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, forced remote learning, mental health and substance abuse crises, surging child homicides cannot be separated from the policies pushed as "following the science." 

Whether directly due to the immediate effects of lockdowns or a result of the accompanying spike in crime that's come in the name of "social justice" and "reform," the fact that so many children became victims of homicide is another reason why there must be no "amnesty" for those who pushed damaging policies. And Americans must make sure such draconian policies are not foisted as unimpeachable science again.


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