Some 400 heat deaths in Netherlands’ hottest week ever
Over 400 more people died in the Netherlands last week, during the hottest week since temperature measurements started, than in the weeks before, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday. The recorded coronavirus related deaths were low, so the excess mortality "is thus almost entirely attributable to the higher temperatures", the stats office said.
The Netherlands was in a national heatwave from August 5 to 16, lasting a total of 13 days. On nine of those days, temperatures topped 30 degrees. For the first time ever, the Netherlands saw eight consecutive days with temps above 30. Last week was also the hottest week ever measured in the Netherlands, with an average maximum temperature of 33.1 degrees Celsius.
The higher number of deaths during the heatwave follows 13 weeks of relatively low mortality. Before that, mortality was much higher than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Between weeks 11 an 19 of this year, an estimated 9 thousand more people died than would have if there had been no pandemic. Last week the GGD health services reported 15 Covid-19 related deaths.
Last year had two heatwaves and both came with an increased number of deaths. During the first heatwave, from July 22 to 27, almost 400 more people died than in an average summer week. During the Netherlands longest and most intense heatwave in a century in July 2006, an estimated 1 thousand more people died. Though in a heatwave in 2018, there were hardly any extra deaths. The stats office thinks this had to do with higher mortality during a flu epidemic earlier that year.
Extra deaths during a heatwave mainly occur in people aged 80 and older, the stats office said. In this past heatwave, about 300 people aged 80 and older died.