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Follow the Data Podcast: The Pandemic’s Effect on Gun Violence

As mayor of New York City, Mike Bloomberg started working on gun safety and co-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns – a coalition that grew to 1,000 current and former mayors. And when he left City Hall, he didn’t back away from the fight. He created Everytown for Gun Safety alongside Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts by combining Mayors Against Illegal Guns with her army of volunteers and millions of other Americans committed to ending gun violence.

Everytown is now the country’s most powerful grassroots advocacy group for common sense gun policies, and the counterweight to the gun lobby. As part of their effort to better understand and reduce gun violence in America, Everytown has a robust research arm, led by Director of Research Sarah Burd-Sharps, that helps inform policymakers, advocates and experts working on the gun violence crisis.

According to the team’s latest study, historic precedent suggests that economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic could contribute to a 20 to 30 percent increase in firearm suicides in the US this year. Sarah joined us to discuss how her team reports on new data, how we can be mindful of possible firearm suicides and prevent them from happening, and precautions that gun owners can take to prevent unintentional shootings during the pandemic.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24/7. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit

You can listen to the podcast and past episodes in the following ways:

For more from our coronavirus series:

  • Tom Inglesby of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health joined our public health program lead Dr. Kelly Henning to tell us more about how states are looking at data to inform school and office reopenings on “The Data Behind the Pandemic.” 
  • World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook joined Bloomberg Philanthropies Senior Advisor Brynne Craig to discuss how you can help people across the country that are in need of a meal or groceries on “Food First Responders.”
  • Mayor Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki, Finland, joined Kelly Larson of our public health program to discuss how The Partnership for Healthy Cities is encouraging global collaboration on “How Helsinki, Finland is Responding to COVID-19.” 
  • Michelle King, the co-creator of “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight,” Brooke Kennedy, executive producer of “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight,” actress Christine Baranski, actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Joseph Benincasa, President and CEO of The Actors Fund, joined Bloomberg Associates Principal Katherine Oliver to discuss how The Actors Fund is helping people in the performing arts and entertainment industries in need on “Lights, Camera…Action?
  • On “The Cost of Recovery For Our Cities, Part 2,” Rose Gill, a Principal at Bloomberg Associates, spoke with Steven Kobre, a Partner at Kobre + Kim, and Jerry DeLoach, the Head of the Cost Recovery team for the City of Atlanta, about why it’s important for cities to maintain fiscal order so that they can maximize federal aid funds for COVID-19 release and recovery.
  • Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins University joined Dr. Jessica Leighton from our public health program to share what’s giving researchers hope on “A Promising Treatment for COVID-19.”
  • On “Slowing the Spread of COVID-19 in Africa,” Dr. Jennifer Ellis of our public health program spoke with Amanda McClelland, the Senior Vice President of Prevent Epidemics and Resolve to Save Lives at Vital Strategies, about how response to the coronavirus has differed from other recent outbreaks.
  • Adam Freed, a Principal with Bloomberg Associates, sat down with Natasha Rogers, the Chief Operating Officer of the City of Newark, and Brad Gair, a principal with Witt O’Brien’s, a national emergency management consultancy, to discuss how local leaders can best navigate, access, and deploy federal aid on “The Cost of Recovery for Our Cities, Part 1.” 
  • Janette Sadik-Khan, a Principal at Bloomberg Associates and Chair of NACTO, joined Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of NACTO, and Mark de la Vergne, the Chief of Mobility Innovation for the City of Detroit, to tell us more about how cities are continuing to run transit systems while keeping their on staffs safe on “The Intersection of COVID-19 and Transportation.”
  • On “Behind the Scenes of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Tracking Map,” Beth Blauer of the Centers for Civic Impact at Johns Hopkins sat down with Dr. Josh Sharfstein of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to tell us more about how data can help individuals and officials make informed decisions for COVID-19 response. This episode was adapted from “Public Health on Call,” a podcast from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  • Josh Sharfstein also appeared on “Responding to a Pandemic Crisis” with Dr. Jessica Leighton of our public health program to discuss crisis response for public health disasters.
  • Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, one of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ co-funders in the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund, joined Megan Sheekey, who leads Strategic Partnerships at Bloomberg Associates, for a conversation entitled “How to Help Nonprofits Hit Hard by COVID-19.”
  • On “World War C’ – Us Against the Microbe,” Dr. Kelly Henning, the public health program lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies and the former Director of Epidemiology for the City of New York, interviewed Dr. Tom Frieden, the President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, and the former director of the CDC, about how we can keep our cities running and safe.