Heat and Covid made for deadly summer in France this year

Heat and Covid made for deadly summer in France this year
A man lying in the sun in a Brussels park during Belgium's heatwave. Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Over 10,000 more people died this summer in France than in a normal year due mainly to heat and Covid, according to information provided on Monday evening by French public health agency Santé publique France.

A total of 10,420 excess deaths were registered between 1 June and 15 September in France’s second hottest summer since 1900, according to the department’s ‘Heatwave and Health’ report.

Over a quarter of the excess deaths – 2,816 – occurred during three heatwave episodes.

Excess mortality is the number of deaths observed compared to the expected number, established by comparing the period to the previous five summers/periods, and adjusting the value obtained for demographic ageing.

The excess mortality toll during the 2022 heatwaves is “the highest since 2003,” a memorable year for its three-week heatwave that caused 15,000 deaths, the Finance Department said. As a result, a national heatwave plan was created.

Part of the excess mortality for the whole of the summer of 2022 (from 1 June to 15 September) is also “probably due to exposure to high heat” during “heatwave alert thresholds”.

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