Skip to main content

‘Silent Killer’: Experts Warn of Record US Deaths from Extreme Heat

Published on August 2, 2023

Flood evacuee in stretcher outdoors being treated for heat stroke with IV by two National Guard members in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Image Credit: Master Sgt. Dan Farrell | U.S. Air National Guard (CC BY- 2.0)

The punishing heatwaves that have scorched much of the US could result in a record number of heat-related deaths this year, experts have warned, amid a spike in hospitalizations from collapsing workers. Among those needing hospital treatment are heat-exhausted hikers and even people who have suffered severe burns from touching blistering concrete and asphalt.

Heat is the leading weather-related cause of mortalities in the US, outpacing deaths from hurricanes by a factor of eight to one, and this summer’s record-breaking temperatures, worsened by the human-caused climate crisis, have led to fears a new annual high death toll will be set in 2023….

While many cities and states have put in place heat action plans, by setting up cooling centers and providing warnings to vulnerable people, such as the elderly, many people are still either underestimate the dangers posed by extreme heat or are placed in peril by their jobs or living conditions.

“There’s a reason heat is labeled a silent killer. People often don’t realize they are in trouble until things are progressing rapidly,” said Kristie Ebi, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington [Department of Global Health] who specializes in climate effects.

“I would expect to see a spike in deaths this year. Everywhere is going to struggle with extreme heat and we just don’t have the level of preparedness we need.”

Continue reading at The Guardian.

Original story by for The Guardian.
Search by categories

Twitter Feed