Remember that number, because there might be a quiz at the end.
Many a summer that I could remember, the temp in Chicago would rise about 1000F for two or more weeks. Electric usage would soar, and my mom and I would crack out every single fan and crack it on high, just to get through the nights. The news would runs constantly about cooling centers (i.e. School Gymnasiums and Hospitals) where the sick and elderly could cool down even at night when the temps wouldn’t even come close to 900F. I also remember going over to my great-grandmothers house to make sure the fans were working and that they had plenty of cold water in the fridge to keep hydrated.
Of course, that was back in the late 1970’s where air conditioning wasn’t nearly as plentiful as it is now. I don’t think you can find a home these days that doesn’t at least have a portable air conditioner in a window to cool down one room. Today in America, you hardly see the “cooling centers” any more since shopping malls and a plethora of other establishments exist where people can get out of the heat. More often than not, it’s the “Ozone Action Alerts” that now get people scurrying over to their parents houses to make sure they are OK.
Which brings me back to that number. In today’s society if an elderly couple was found days later in their home after a heatwave, it would be the lead story. People would scream and call for special investigations into the causes of this. The familes, already in grief, would be berated for not taking care of their own family when something like that was 100% preventable.
As of today, the unofficial death toll in France alone from the heat is 11,435.
I don’t want to make light of this. I know the one guy from France who reads this might think I’m making fun of him, but I am most definitely not. 11,435 grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins have died in the last two weeks from something that could have been prevented.
I know that it’s definitely uncommon (in fact completely unthinkable) that the temps would soar into the low 100’s. And this might have been France’s first taste of what we deal with on occasion over here in the US.
But the number is astounding, and it isn’t even the lead story on ANY news site.
11,435. Almost four times the deaths in the World Trade Center attacks. It’s also just less than what the Allies lost when storming the Normandy beaches. But it’s only news on a few sites. And it’s not even mentioned on a site who usually takes up a humanitarian cause like this.