Compound mortality impacts from extreme temperatures and the COVID-19 pandemic

Y. T. Eunice Lo*, Daniel M. Mitchell, Antonio Gasparrini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Extreme weather and coronavirus-type pandemics are both leading global health concerns. Until now, no study has quantified the compound health consequences of the co-occurrence of them. We estimate the mortality attributable to extreme heat and cold events, which dominate the UK health burden from weather hazards, in England and Wales in the period 2020-2022, during which the COVID-19 pandemic peaked in terms of mortality. We show that temperature-related mortality exceeded COVID-19 mortality by 8% in South West England. Combined, extreme temperatures and COVID-19 led to 19 (95% confidence interval: 16–22 in North West England) to 24 (95% confidence interval: 20–29 in Wales) excess deaths per 100,000 population during heatwaves, and 80 (95% confidence interval: 75–86 in Yorkshire and the Humber) to 127 (95% confidence interval: 123–132 in East of England) excess deaths per 100,000 population during cold snaps. These numbers are at least ~2 times higher than the previous decade. Society must increase preparedness for compound health crises such as extreme weather coinciding with pandemics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4289
JournalNature Communications
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024.

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