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Does pandemic provoke violence? Spiking crime raises alarms in cities nationwide
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Does pandemic provoke violence? Spiking crime raises alarms in cities nationwide

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In Detroit, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and even smaller cities, 2020 has been deadly not only because of the pandemic, but because gun violence is spiking.

Authorities and some experts say there is no single clear-cut reason for the spike. They instead point to social and economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 virus, public sentiment toward police following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody and a historic shortage of jobs and resources in poorer communities as contributing factors. It's happening in cities large and small, Democrat and Republican-led.

"I think the pandemic — COVID — has had a significant emotional impact on people across the country,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said. “I’ve not seen a spike like this. But when it’s happening in other cities — some smaller — what do we all have in common? ... That’s when you start thinking about COVID."

Meanwhile, a huge U.S. study of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate got underway Monday as states continue to roll out scarce supplies of the first shots to a nation anxiously awaiting relief from the catastrophic outbreak.

Public health experts say more options in addition to the two vaccines now being dispensed — one made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, the other by Moderna — are critical to amassing enough shots for the country and the world.

Nearly 1.3 million people went through U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday, the highest one-day total in more than nine months, despite fear that travel will lead to more cases of COVID-19.

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1,284,599 on Sunday, the most since March 15. More than 10 million people have traveled by air since Dec. 18, including six days with at least 1 million people getting screened.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top expert on infectious disease, said that level of travel could lead to a further increase in COVID-19 cases. Fauci said crowded airports make it difficult to maintain social distance, and holiday gatherings combine people from different households.

THE NUMBERS: The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths in the U.S. decreased in the last two weeks from 2,421.3 on Dec. 13 to 2,207.1 on Dec. 27, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

DEATH TOLL: The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the U.S. stands at more than 333,000.

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