SOCC03 Chicago HEATWAVE.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Marc Cadotte

Heat wave chicacoCENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL ONLY LOOKED AT INDIVIDUAL FACTORS RELATED TO HEAT MORTALITYNOT POLITICAL ECONOMIC RACIAL FACTORSKlinenberg argues that the heat wave wasnt so much a breakdown of nature as it was a breakdown of the social structurecalamitous consequences of forgetting our fellow citizens using the 1995 heat wave as his paradigm Klinenberg has written a forceful account of what it means to be poor old sick and alone in the era of American entrepreneurial governmentAfter about fortyeight hours of continuous exposure to heat the bodys defenses begin to fail So by Friday July 14 thousands of Chicagoans had developed severe heatrelated illnesses Paramedics couldnt keep up with emergency calls and city hospitals were overwhelmed Twentythree hospitalsmost on the South and Southwest Sideswent on bypass status closing the doors of their emergency rooms to new patients Some ambulance crews drove around the city for miles looking for an open bedBut perhaps the best measure of heat deaths comes from another figurethe excess death ratewhich counts the difference between the reported deaths and the typical deaths for a given time period According to this measure 739 Chicagoans above the norm died during the week of 14 to 20 Julywhich means that Donoghue had been conservative in his accounts Mayor argued
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