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"California doesn’t know how many people died in record summer heat wave"

The Los Angeles Times interviewed Dr. David Eisenman, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of community health sciences, about how California tracks mortality during extreme heat events

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Monday, October 10, 2022
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It was the worst California heat wave ever recorded in September — an epic grilling that disabled one of Twitter’s main data centers, pushed the power grid to its limit and triggered a succession of weather and safety alerts.

For 10 grueling days, meteorologists tracked record-setting temperatures as they boiled across the state — 116 degrees in Sacramento, 114 in Napa, 109 in Long Beach. But for all the data on soaring temperatures, there was little information on the heat wave’s human toll, or how many people had been sickened or even killed.

The state’s ongoing struggle to account for heat wave illnesses and deaths — despite promises to improve monitoring — has frustrated some public health experts who say the lack of timely information puts lives in jeopardy.

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