A record number of people died from heat in the United States last year

A record number of people died from heat in the United States last year

It shows numbers extracted and analyzed by the Associated Press. The effects of high temperatures were mentioned in the death certificates of about 2,300 Americans who died in the summer of 2023.

This number was the highest in at least 45 years. There are also many indications that the real number of heat victims is much higher than what appears on death certificates.

“We can safely say that 2023 was the worst year we've had since we started keeping reliable numbers,” says John Balbus, who heads the US Department of Health's Climate and Health Equity Division.

Here you can read more about the USA!

– It looks ugly

Poor people and people living in the southern United States without air conditioning in their homes were particularly affected by record temperatures.

– These are people who live a “warm life.” They are the ones who die. People who work outside, people who can't afford to cool the air in their homes, says climate scientist Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University.

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He adds: – It's really very ugly.

One of the victims was 66-year-old Eugene Gates, who worked at the post office in the large city of Dallas, Texas. On June 20, 2023, he was working early outdoors, and at 7.30 he wrote in a letter to his wife that the temperature was 32 degrees Celsius.

He continued to stay outside in 48 degree heat due to the humidity. Finally he collapsed in the garden. He had a fever of 40 degrees when he died, and it was determined that heat contributed to his death.

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Watch the video: He had to go to the hospital after that

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silent killer

“The way my husband died was avoidable,” says Carla Gates, who was married to Eugene.

Researcher Christie Eby from the University of Washington believes that there is little awareness of deaths as a result of high temperatures.

“This is a silent killer,” says Eby, who in 2012 contributed to a United Nations report on extreme weather. The report warned that heat waves will become more dangerous in the future.

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Eby now believes the heat waves appear to be coming faster and are worse than expected.

Extreme heat affected large parts of the world last summer, and in the United States there was a long-running dispute Heat records To be beaten. Phoenix, Arizona, has had 31 straight days with temperatures above 43 degrees, a new record.

Globally, last summer's average temperature was the highest on record. In addition to the gradual global warming phenomenon, the El Niño climate phenomenon has given an additional rise in temperatures.

There is no breathing room

In the United States, ambulances have had to respond tens of thousands of times to people who collapsed in the heat during the summer.

In many places the heat was also intense at night. Thus, people had no rest if they did not have air cooling.

In Arizona, at least 874 deaths were linked to high temperatures, and in Texas the number was 450. Most of the deaths occurred in southern states already accustomed to high temperatures. This time it was too much, and five Southern states accounted for nearly three-quarters of the deaths.

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It is believed that studies of so-called excess deaths give a more accurate picture of the true number of heat victims. The reason is that heat can contribute to deaths without being recorded on the death certificate.

Estimates based on excess mortality indicate that there were about 11,000 heat-related deaths in the United States last year, according to Jangho Lee of Texas.

Extreme spring heat

The number of deaths may also have risen as a result of improved recording and because Americans are getting older and more vulnerable to heat.

In addition, there is a slow movement of population to cities, which are more vulnerable to high temperatures.

Here, the poor and drug addicts living on the streets are particularly at risk. There are also older people with underlying diseases.

As in Norway, Denmark and Finland, this May set or reached temperature records in several places in the USA. This raises concerns that summer this year may also be very hot.

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Since global greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing, temperatures are also expected to continue to rise in the long term. As we reach the year 2040, Andrew Dessler of the University of Texas thinks the summer of 2023 might be remembered as relatively great.

The problem with climate change is that if it hasn't pushed you over the edge yet – just wait, that's Dessler's bleak predictions.

Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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