Heat wave extra dangerous during corona crisis: weaker s …

Elderly people during a heat wave in a nursing home.

Image: Robin Hilberink / AD

A combination of a heat wave with the coronavirus can have major effects on public health. Experts argue in favor of adapting the national heat plan to the corona time.

In a letter sent in De Gelderlander, experts state that people who are most affected by the corona virus are also the most vulnerable to a heat wave. Especially the elderly and people who already have other conditions are in the danger zone.

Professor Geriatrie Marcel Olde Rikkert of Radboudumc in Nijmegen, professor of Thermo physiology Hein Daanen of the VU Amsterdam and Madeleen Helmer of the Dutch Climate Association write this.


Climate change increases the risk of extreme heat in the Netherlands. The combination of corona and heat can be fatal for many people and, in addition, the corona measures sometimes make it more difficult to help people who suffer from the heat. Also, heat will increase the use of air conditioners and the authors of the letter state that it is not clear whether it actually contributes to the spread of the corona virus.

“The heat plan is aimed at contact. Make sure that your loved ones are sufficiently cooled and drink is the message. However, 700,000 elderly people are lonely and now often stay indoors without visitors due to the corona crisis. There is no coffee corner in the supermarket where you can cool down for a while, ”Madeleen Helmer explains.

Last year, the Netherlands was plagued by multiple heat waves. In the tropical week in July, with record temperatures of more than forty degrees for the Netherlands, 400 heat deaths occurred, according to Statistics Netherlands. Especially in nursing homes. 2020 is on its way to become another warm year.

A recent survey of the GGDs in the Eastern Netherlands among 7000 inhabitants shows that people also suffer from the heat at home. Many people fail to keep their own homes cool. In some houses, the temperature rose above 40 degrees. As a result, people slept worse and the number of health complaints increased.

International concerns

There are also international concerns about the combination of heat and corona. The Global Heat Heath Information Network (GHHIN), to which large parties such as the WHO are affiliated, advises countries to prepare for heat during the corona crisis.

The National Heat Plan was deployed three times last year. A record. The writers of the play argue that this plan must now be adapted and call for careful consideration. Helmer: ,, Heat ensures that more people get complaints and need care. But the care must catch its breath now. We can prevent additional pressure on healthcare if we prepare well for a heat wave. ”

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