LONDON (Reuters) – Heat waves caused 2,556 deaths in the UK in the summer beyond what normally occurs at this time of year, as the country struggled to contain the pandemic. coronavirus, according to a government estimate published today
Increasingly frequent and intense heat waves are among the deadliest impacts of climate change, hitting the elderly and other vulnerable groups more harshly, scientists say.
“Unless the government takes urgent action to address the climate emergency, the number of surplus deaths due to heat waves is likely to increase year on year,” said Sandy Robertson, of the United Kingdom Alliance against Climate Change, a group of activism of health professionals.
The UK suffered a series of heat waves in June, July and August, during which many weather stations across the country broke or reached record high temperatures.
The estimate of 2,556 surplus deaths was the highest since the government launched a plan to manage the health effects of high temperatures in response to the death of an estimated 2,234 people in England during a pan-European heat wave in 2003.
Researchers said that only high temperatures do not explain all the fatalities, which makes one wonder whether the pandemic may have served to amplify the impact of the heat.