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LOS ANGELES—Health officials in Southern California are raising concerns about heat waves during the summer months and the risk they pose for at-risk residents abiding by the state’s stay-at-home order.
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The state saw the popularity of beaches last month when the temperatures increase, which drew a rebuke from Gov. Gavin Newsom. But the Los Angeles Times reported—citing a University of Southern California study—that a third of the homes in Greater Los Angeles don’t have air conditioning.
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Eric Kinenberg, a professor of sociology at New York University, told the paper that there are millions of older Americans “who feel like they need to stay indoors. And social isolation combined with extreme heat is a proven killer.”
The coronavirus can be deadly at any age, but the virus is especially dangerous for the elderly population. Health officials across the U.S. have put strict social distancing orders in place to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The Times pointed out that besides the lack of air conditioning, some residents in the state may hesitate to run their unit due to their precarious financial condition.
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The concern about heatwaves, of course, is not limited to Los Angeles. Cities across the U.S. are preparing for long summer months that could lead to some of the poorest residents stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The Washington Post interviewed a New Yorker who lived on the 20th floor in the Bronx’s Mott Haven Houses. Edgar Martinez told the paper that the summer months will likely be brutal.
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“The summer is going to make it worse,” the 62-year-old said. “These kids can’t go to the park no more. They can’t play. Imagine if you have four, five kids in your house.”