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Int J Health Serv ; 52(2): 189-200, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714524


Extreme weather events (EWEs) affected health in every world region during 2021, placing the planet in "uncharted territory." Portraying the human impacts of EWEs is part of a health frame that suggests public knowledge of these risks will spur support for needed policy change. The health frame has gained traction since the Paris COP21 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) and arguably helped to achieve modest progress at the Glasgow COP26. However, reporting rarely covers the full picture of health impacts from EWEs, instead focusing on cost of damages, mortality, and displacement. This review summarizes data for 30 major EWEs of 2021 and, based on the epidemiological literature, discusses morbidity-related exposures for four hazards that marked the year: wildfire smoke; extreme cold and power outages; extreme, precipitation-related flooding; and drought. A very large likely burden of morbidity was found, with particularly widespread exposure to risk of respiratory outcomes (including interactions with COVID-19) and mental illnesses. There is need for a well-disseminated global annual report on EWE morbidity, including affected population estimates and evolving science. In this way, the public health frame may be harnessed to bolster evidence for the broader and promising frame of "urgency and agency" for climate change action.

COVID-19 , Extreme Weather , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , Climate Change , Female , Humans , Morbidity , SARS-CoV-2 , Sheep , Weather