What We’re Reading: Blocking Purdue Bankruptcy Deal; Mississippi Tops in COVID-19 Deaths; Mass Shootings Increasing

The Department of Justice moves to stop Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy deal; Mississippi records the nation's highest COVID-19 death rate; the pandemic coincided with a rise in mass shootings.

Halting Purdue's Bankruptcy Deal

A Department of Justice division filed an appeal to block the controversial Purdue Pharma bankruptcy deal that would protect the Sackler family from any future liability, NPR reports. In addition, documents were filed to prevent implementation of the settlement, which was approved September 1 and granted the family immunity form opioid-related lawsuits. Those who support the settlement argued it would avoid costly litigation and help spur funding for drug treatment programs. The Sacklers, who own Purdue and earned more than $10 billion from opioid sales, are not bankrupt and have repeatedly said they have done nothing wrong and acted ethically.

Mississippi Records Highest COVID-19 Death Rate

Approximately 1 of every 320 Mississippians has died of COVID-19, meaning it has surpassed New Jersey to become the state with the highest COVID-19 death rate in the country, according to The Associated Press. The state’s top health official warned more deaths will follow as Mississippi reports over 2500 cases of COVID-19 per day. In total, over 9000 Mississippians have died of COVID-19, while the state has a population of roughly 3 million and one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. In comparison, New Jersey saw a spike in COVID-19 deaths in the Spring of 2020 when the pandemic first began and vaccines were not yet developed.

Mass Shootings Increased During Pandemic

New research published in JAMA Network Open found large increases in mass shootings in the United States with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting the notion that mass shootings may be influenced by social and economic factors. Researchers used data from the Gun Violence Archive and assessed rates from January 2014 through June of 2021. Mass shootings were defined as those in which 4 or more people were killed or injured, excluding the perpetrator. Estimates suggest that during this time frame, there were 343 more mass shootings than expected, resulting in an additional 217 people killed and 1498 injured.