Heatstroke fears in Japan with the added pressure of Covid-19
Kanako Mita and Noriko Watanabe
Modern Tokyo Times
The season of August always brings fear about heatstroke fatalities and hospitalization during this part of the year in Japan. Of course, certain areas are normally hit more than others. However, vast swathes of Japan suffer from this issue from late July onwards during the height of summer.
This year, the rainy season was long and prolonged thus it kept the heat down. Yet now high temperatures are in earnest. Hence, with the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, the facemask angle is an added concern.
Warnings by the Meteorological Agency specify that some areas will read 38 degrees Celsius and above during the following days. Indeed, on Monday one city in the prefecture of Gifu reached 38.6 degrees.
By Tuesday, the temperature further climbed to over 40 degrees in parts of Gunma and Saitama prefectures. In other parts of Saitama, temperatures reached 39 degrees. Similarly, the same 39 degrees hit parts of Gunma, Tochigi, and Toyama. Therefore, with the fear of Covid-19 – and extra heat generated by normal facemasks – warnings have been issued.
Concerns of temperatures reaching 38 degrees have been issued for central Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures. This also relates to heat being generated by traffic pollution, train stations, buildings, and other angles. Thus with added heat from facemasks and other factors, then people are being advised to take full precautions.
In the last few days, new coronavirus infections in Tokyo have fallen below 200 for two days running. Hence, just before the Obon period begins on August 13, this is a positive sign – even if too early to think it is a break in recent fresh highs.
Overall, hospitals are prepared for many heatstroke victims during the current heatwave and the following weeks.
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