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UK weather: There were hundreds of extra deaths on the hottest day of the year, figures show

October 8,2019


The number of deaths per day increased around the time of the summer heatwave, provisional records have shown.

Data for England and Wales collected by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows there were nearly 1,500 deaths recorded on 25 July this year, the same day temperatures soared to 38.7C (101.7F) in Cambridge.

This is a spike when compared with an average of the same day and time of year since 2014, when about 1,100 to 1,200 deaths per day were recorded.

In a similar period of time in 2018 - regarded as the third heatwave by Public Health England - there were 409 "excess deaths" over the course of eight days.

An ONS spokesman said: "After a rise in deaths, there is a period where the deaths tend to be lower than the five-year average. This means that at a daily level, extreme heat seems to have an impact on the number of deaths, but across the summer period as a whole the number of deaths is similar to previous years.

"This could be because the most vulnerable people, for example, those with pre-existing respiratory or cerebrovascular diseases are more susceptible to death during heatwaves."

The statistics released today are "highly provisional" because of the length of time it can take to register deaths.

The ONS said statistics show there are more deaths during winter months than summer months, even when extremely high temperatures are factored in.

The mean temperature for meteorological summer, which covers June to August, is now between 16C to 17C (60.8F to 62.6F), up from 14.3C (57.7F) in 1919.

An ONS summer heatwave report in 2010 stated there were seven extra deaths above the mean for every 1C rise in temperature.

In September, France's health minister confirmed that two heatwaves over the summer had led to an additional 1,500 deaths - 567 during the first heatwave in June, and 868 during the second in July.

The average number of deaths reported increased by 9.1% over the period, with more than half aged over 75.

French officials said preventative measures meant there was a drastically lower number of deaths in comparison to a heatwave in 2003 that killed 15,000 people.


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