Tags: Coronavirus | heat wave | air conditioning | cooling

Cities Brace for Collision Course of COVID-19 and Heat Waves

people sit under colorful umbrellas on the beach next to a sign telling people to socially distance
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By    |   Friday, 26 June 2020 11:02 AM

With record breaking temperatures already recorded, authorities are struggling to find safe ways to keep things cool. Strategies such as spray parks, community swimming pools and air-conditioned cooling centers have been shut down due the COVID-19 crisis. Movie theaters, libraries, and restaurants where people used to gather to cool off on scorching days are also closed in many parts of the country. Health officials remind us that it is unsafe to gather when the highly contagious virus is still a major health threat but acknowledge that excess heat can also be a killer.

According to Kaiser Health News, about 90% of households have air conditioning but the access is not evenly distributed. For many poor and minority communities, air conditioning is a luxury they cannot afford. An investigation co-sponsored by NPR, showed that the poorest communities in America were also the hottest.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines for cities and states to deal with the competing problems. Their recommendations include offering assistance to people to help pay utility bills so they can maintain home air conditioning, checking the temperature of people at cooling centers, and reserving a room for those with COVID-19 symptoms.

According to KHN, in Los Angeles County, cooling centers were open but they required masks and limited the number of people who could be inside at one time.

Dr. Andrea Miglani, the medical director of the emergency department at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, told KHN that the first signs of overheating include heavy sweating, elevated pulse, weakness, fatigue and dizziness. If the situation continues, an individual may develop heatstroke which can cause fever and brain damage.

Experts said that it’s challenging to find a way to protect people from COVID-19 and prevent heat-related illnesses.

“I am very grateful that I am not responsible for making that very complicated decision,” said Miglani.

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With record breaking temperatures already recorded, authorities are struggling to find safe ways to keep things cool. Strategies such as spray parks, community swimming pools and air-conditioned cooling centers have been shut down due the COVID-19 crisis. Movie theaters,...
heat wave, air conditioning, cooling
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2020-02-26
Friday, 26 June 2020 11:02 AM
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