Tags: Coronavirus | heat | weather | pandemic

'Heat Dome' Settling Over Parts of US as Virus Rages

people at hermosa beach in california
People sit at Hermosa Beach near Los Angeles. (DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 17 July 2020 05:13 PM

A massive, intense heatwave called a heat dome is settling over parts of the United States and could hit 100 degrees-plus in some cities, putting the most vulnerable to coronavirus at heightened risks of illness due to high heat and humidity, reports CNBC.

A heat dome "is really just sort of a colloquial term for a persistent and/or strong high-pressure system that occurs during the warm season, with the end result being a lot of heat," climate scientist Daniel Swain of UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability told Wired.

"So the same air that's maybe 80 degrees a few thousand feet up, you bring that same air — without adding any extra energy to it — down to the surface in a high-pressure system and it could be 90, 95, 100 degrees," he said.

More than 3.7 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and around 142,000 have died. Many scientists claimed heat would be effective in keeping coronavirus cases down, but that hasn't been in the case in particularly the hot states of Texas, Arizona, and Florida. 

"Any two people in the world can spread COVID-19 to each other at any time, which means, in a population with no immunity, weather isn't at the steering wheel," Colin Carlson, an assistant research professor at Georgetown University who studies the relationship between climate change and infectious disease, told USA Today.

"There's a combination of things you have to do: Stay socially distant, use a mask, wash your hands, and be careful about who you contact. I don't want people to stop juggling all that just because they think going outside solves all those problems."

Climate change is already driving hotter temperatures this summer across the U.S., and 2020 is on course to be the hottest year since records have been kept, dating back to the 1800s.

Many cities have already reached heat indexes of over 100 degrees this week, including New Orleans (120), Houston (111), Phoenix (111), Orlando, (101) and Death Valley, California (128), which recorded the hottest temperature record on Earth in the past three years.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, nearly 50 million Americans will be affected by the heat dome.

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A massive, intense heatwave called a heat dome is settling over parts of the United States and could hit 100 degrees-plus in some cities, putting the most vulnerable to coronavirus at heightened risks of illness due to high heat and humidity.
heat, weather, pandemic
368
2020-13-17
Friday, 17 July 2020 05:13 PM
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