About 600 more people died during the June heatwave in Oregon and Washington than would have typically died during that time, the New York Times reports. That number is triple the official death toll of the heatwave that would have been virtually impossible without climate change caused by humans’ extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. Experts said the Times’ analysis was consistent with extant evidence of the mortal danger posed by extreme heat, in part because extreme heat exacerbates other conditions like cardiovascular and respiratory disease and can thus cause deaths without being reflected in official data.
The Times’ reporting comes as two concurrent heatwaves are set to roast much of the continental U.S. with almost 200 million people under heat advisories or excessive heat warnings. The heat will likely further worsen fires in the West, as well as disproportionately harm low income communities and communities of color. (PNW death toll: New York Times $; Coming heatwaves: (Washington Post $, Axios, New York Times $, Bloomberg $; Climate Signals background: 2021 PNW heatwave; 2021 Western wildfire season)