Meteorological experts warned that due to countries’ restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, the upcoming summer heatwave in the northern hemisphere will put vulnerable people at higher risk.
According to an Effie News Agency report on May 26, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) spokesperson Claire Nalis said that the COVID-19 has increased the risk of heatwaves for many people making it more difficult for them to cope with high-temperature weather. The warning issued by the organization is supported by global climate and health experts.
It is reported that with outbreaks of COVID-19 occurring, some measures that the US and Europe usually take to mitigate the effects of high temperatures in summer, especially measures for the elderly, may not be implemented in the next few months due to conflicts with some COVID-19 prevention measures.
The report also stated that people may not be able to leave their homes casually, as they did in previous years, and go to shopping malls and other public places with air-conditioning systems to avoid the heat during the hottest part of the day.
Also, visits to the elderly in extreme heat conditions or providing emergency care for them will become more complicated and even impossible in some places, because it will violate the COVID-19 prevention regulations.
WMO spokesperson Claire Nalis noted in Geneva, “The heatwaves are becoming stronger and more frequent due to the impact of climate change, which puts more pressure on people and health systems.”
According to the complete data for 2018, compared with the baseline average of 1986-2005, the vulnerable population over 65 years old who was hit by a heatwave in 2018 exceeded a record 220 million.
In 2019, Europe experienced two severe heat waves: the first in June and the second in late July.
Take France as an example. On June 28, 2019, an unprecedented high temperature of 46 degrees Celsius or 114F was recorded, and then a month-long heatwave hit the entire region of southwestern and central Europe. The extreme heat in the summer of 2019 is responsible for at least 20,000 medical visits and 5,700 medical visits in France.
“The information we get on the climate tells us that we must be prepared because COVID-19 will make everything more complicated.”
The report pointed out that according to the measurement results so far this year, since the record, 2020 has been regarded as one of the hottest years.