By Paul Homewood
We all remember these claims during the summer:
As the UK endured record high temperatures of 40C this summer, there were around 3,000 more deaths in the over-65s than usual in England and Wales – the highest figure since 2004.
Many happened during the hottest days towards the end of July and in early August.
The data comes from a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Experts say it shows just how dangerous hot weather can be.
“These estimates show clearly that high temperatures can lead to premature death for those who are vulnerable,” said Isabel Oliver, chief scientific officer at the UKHSA.
“A warming climate means we must adapt to living safely with hotter summers in the future.”
There were five heat-periods between June and August 2022 – defined as days when the average temperature is greater than 20°C in central England.
During those periods, there were 3,271 excess deaths – 6.2% above the five-year average – out of a total of 56,303 deaths in England and Wales.
Speaking at the UKHSA’s annual conference in Leeds this week, Harries launched a Centre for Climate and Health Security. She argued that the threat to health should be considered as part of the UK’s broader climate policy, including the commitment to bring greenhouse emissions to net zero by 2050.
This summer, the UK experienced record temperatures of 40.3C and six separate heatwave periods associated with more than 2,800 excess deaths. “If several aeroplanes all exploded and we’d lost that many people it would be front-page news in health protection terms,” Harries said.
Well, we now have the latest data in from the ONS, which shows that Harries was lying, as she must have known at the time when she her speech on Oct 22nd.
According to the ONS, deaths (excl COVID) have been running above the five-year average since April. (The five-year average excludes 2020, in other words 2016-2019, plus 2021)
The chart below focusses in more clearly on this year:
Deaths were well below average in the first three months of the year, but as ONS explain this was because the average was boosted by COVID deaths in early 2021. But since April, excess deaths have been consistently running at between 500 and 1000 a week. During July and August, excess deaths averaged 717/week. In comparison, excess deaths between W/E 29th April, when they started to spike, have averaged 679. During October they hit 906/week.
The excess deaths which Harries was desperate to blame on the heatwave, are clearly part of a much larger problem.
Maybe she should be addressing that problem rather than the imaginary one of heatwaves.
The death data is based on date of registration, not actual death. Hence the apparent drop in deaths during W/E 23rd September (Queen’s funeral), and W/E 3rd June (Queen’s Jubilee).
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
November 12, 2022