Story at a glance:
- Drownings in 2021 have surpassed 2020 drownings.
- There have been 34 drownings in the Great Lakes, 29 in Minnesota, about 4 individuals in Washington State, and at least a dozen drownings throughout California.
- Massachusetts is offering free swimming classes from July to August 13 on weekday mornings for those older than four.
This summer, there has been an increasing number of drownings taking place in lakes, rivers, and backyard pools, with some experts believing that the heat waves and children who were not able to be taught how to swim during this pandemic are to blame.
Compared to last year’s 25 reported drownings that took place in the Great Lakes around this time period, Fourth of July holiday weekend, there were at least 34 drownings that happened, Click on Detroit reported.
The three dozen drownings this year tops 2020 in the region, and the previous year’s drownings is an increase from 2019, according to The Guardian.
The heat wave in the Pacific Northwest area has prompted some to dive into or get near bodies of water, and in the case of Washington State, about 4 individuals, a 77-year-old who drowned at Crescent Lake, a Port Orchard man believed to have drowned in Horseshoe Lake, a 4-year-old boy who fell in the Skykomish River, and a Salem woman got caught in a rip current near a beach in the coastal town of Lincoln City, were either killed or traumatized by the water.
In New York State, three people drowned in June in the Delaware River between Sullivan and Orange counties on separate occasions, USA Today reported, which is more people than were recovered from last year as the pandemic wanes.
Minnesota echoes the same problem as the aforementioned states; there has been a record breaking number of drownings.
In Minnesota's lakes, rivers and pools, 29 drownings have already been reported as of Fourth of July, 18 of which were in June alone, according to The Star Tribune and the Minnesota department of natural resources.
There have been at least a dozen drownings throughout California, whether it is occurring at Lake Berryessa, New Melones Lake or Lake Don Pedro, and Lake Tahoe, including Ex-Trojan lineman Chris Brown who briefly played for the Chargers and eventually played for XFL’s Washington D.C. league, according to The Los Angeles Times.
A 16-year-old Kara Wrice of Missouri drowned in a state park and 18-year-old Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Amuda died in a private pool in Oklahoma, though surviving relatives think foul play occurred in his death.
Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has advised people to wear a life jacket in response to officials issuing warnings after a series of drownings in south Georgia.
Massachusetts also had a series of drownings, including one victim who was a one-year-old boy who fell into a family pool. The state’s department of conservation and recreation has been offering free swimming classes from July to August 13 on weekday mornings for those older than four.
“It was really hard for people to access swimming lessons last year,” Ben Hoffman, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on injury, violence and poison prevention, told ABC’s Good Morning America.
“And from what I understand this year, it still remains challenging, because things have booked up pretty early.”
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA