Weatherwatch: heatwaves become silent killer, hitting vulnerable hardest

At least 300 more people in UK died than average in second week of August

While attention was focused on Covid-19, a spike in death rates in the UK during the second week of August slipped past almost unnoticed. At least 300 more died than average. This excess exactly coincided with a heatwave, when temperatures in the south of England exceeded 33C (91F) for almost a week but more importantly resulted in “tropical” nights in urban areas, defined as exceeding 20C (68F).

Scientists have long warned that summer heat is a serious danger to older people, plus the obese and those with heart and lung diseases – often the same underlying health conditions that can turn Covid into a dangerous illness.

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