Three successive heatwaves and COVID-19 are likely to have caused more than 10,000 additional deaths in France during this summer, the health ministry said.
A total of 10,420 excess deaths were registered between June 1 and Sept. 15 in France’s second hottest summer since 1900, data from the public health agency showed.
Of those, 2,816 took place during three episodes of heatwave alert, from June 14 to 22, July 9 to 27 and July 29 to Aug.14.
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Occitanie, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur recorded the majority of the excess national deaths during the heatwave.
The elderly were the worst affected, with those aged 75 or more accounting for 2,272 of the 2,816 excess deaths during the heatwaves.
The COVID pandemic is also likely to have played a role in heat-related deaths, said the agency, Sante Publique France, with 894 COVID-19 related deaths recorded in hospitals and medical establishments during the heatwave episodes.
"COVID-19 may have increased the vulnerability to heat of some people and exposure to high temperatures may have worsened the health of some COVID-19 patients," it added. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)